Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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54 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • FEBRUARY 2019 the chain stayed on-brand by making different cheeses key ingredients in many of these dishes. Not surprisingly, changes to the menu brought about major changes to the chain's kitchen equipment package. The chain added a double combi oven, fryers, hood and refrigera- tion in order to prepare its lunch, brunch and "No Pot Re- quired" menu. Notably, The Melting Pot selected equipment items that will be easy to add into stores during remodels/ retrofits, the company says. While the challenges presented by The Melting Pot's menu are specific to the concept, the new design takes the idea of experience-based dining in some new directions and offers spaces that are comfortable for everyday outings. On the everyday front, the chain changed its color palette and general floorplan. The previous design used darker tones and wood finishes that conveyed the idea of special-occasion dining a little too well. The new design has brighter, more approachable colors and open sightlines, making the restau- rant more approachable for those just out for a meal. These same guests also can sit at The Melting Pot's up- graded outdoor patio, a space where guests can just hang out without feeling out of place. That's not to say the new design is plain. The bar in The Melting Pot's new prototype has upgraded finishes and features. These include peninsula tables attached to the bar itself, encour- aging more group interactions at happy hour and beyond, as well as displays of the chain's signature cocktails on the backbar, making ordering one of these drinks a mini-event by itself. The chain has also added an entirely new bar section, the wine-tasting area, where guests can sample several different wines, even those at a higher price point typically sold only by the bottle. "It gives our guests a low-risk entry point," says The Melting Pot President Mike Lester. "They might have wanted to try some really nice, expensive wine, but they didn't want to commit to an entire bottle because of the price. Here, they can have a sample of just one ounce and understand if they might like it. Guests have been able to explore and try some really interesting wines." A similar space is the new front-of-the-house cheese and chocolate bar — the chain's version of a display kitchen. Here, cheese- and chocolate-tenders (so dubbed by the chain) prepare fondue pots for diners and happily interact with guests, even handing out samples. The Melting Pot, no- tably, took advantage of this area to better promote its retail and to-go offerings, creating displays suitable for items like chocolate-dipped strawberries, as well as to highlight cheeses and chocolates in their unmelted forms. Even with these new experiences, The Melting Pot remains a place to go for a special occasion, though in a way that matches the updated design and ambience. In the prior design, the Lover's Lane section often was separated with dividers such as curtains. In keeping with the desire for clear sightlines, this space has been opened up a bit, with privacy and romance created by the nearby candle wall. This setup, in a way, embodies what the chain has achieved with its new design: a space that embraces what's always made The Melting Pot stand out while integrating new elements and aspects that make it a good fit for all sorts of occasions. The Melting Pot The Melting Pot's new cheese and chocolate bar enables guests to watch staff make fondue dishes while also providing a natural spot for retail/to-go sales.

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