This casual restaurant chain you've probably never been to was just named best in America


the melting pot san diego

The Melting Pot

The Melting Pot's San Diego location.

A fondue restaurant chain was just named best in America by Consumer Reports.


The Melting Pot beat out restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, Bonefish Grill, Texas Roadhouse, and Olive Garden for the title of "best casual restaurant."

With 135 locations around the world, Melting Pot is smaller than many restaurant chains featured. By comparison, Olive Garden has more than 800 restaurants.

Consumer Reports polled more than 4,000 consumers on customer service, cleanliness, atmosphere, and craveability. Melting Pot won all of these categories.

The brand executed a turnaround plan that is paying off - especially with millennials, CEO Mike Lester told Business Insider.


"We knew we had to start going after the right consumer," Lester said. "We're always refining our menu, restaurant design, and customer service around them."

Classic Alpine Cheese Fondue melting pot

Courtesy The Melting Pot

Focusing on young consumers has helped Melting Pot grow sales and traffic during an industry downturn.

Melting Pot offers a 4-course tasting menu in which customers get a cheese fondue appetizer, salad, entree, and chocolate fondue dessert.

It also offers any item a la carte.


Providing customers with customization options has been key to success, Lester said.

For instance, the brand's cheese fondues vary by region. Three of the cheeses are standard, while the other three are chosen by franchisees.

"In Lexington and Lousville Kentucky, we offer a cheese fondue with bourbon and bacon," Lester said. "Bourbon is big in that region, so we can appeal to the customers there."

melting pot fondue

Courtesy The Melting Pot.

Melting Pot has also added seafood, such as lobster tail, to its entree menu.


For now, the brand is planning a summer menu that includes corn and shrimp.

Here are some customer photos that offer a glimpse into what it's like to eat there.


A photo posted by Lilia Snyder (@l_snyder13) on Apr 15, 2015 at 5:09pm PDT

date day with @isaywhodey18 ??

A photo posted by @emarr_ on Apr 11, 2015 at 12:43pm PDT

Course 2. French Quarter and chicken. Yum.

A photo posted by Kayla Richards (@thisfeistybitchkayla) on Feb 6, 2015 at 3:47pm PST

Goodbye dinner with the fam ??#themeltingpot #sogood

A photo posted by Amanda Cohen (@amanda_cohenn) on Jan 16, 2015 at 7:09pm PST

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