Fact Sheet

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Executive Leadership

Bob Johnston, CEO and Chairman of the Board
Mark Johnston, President and Chief Concept Officer, Front Burner Brands and President, Burger 21
Mike Johnston, Vice President and Board Member
Scott Pierce, Chief Financial Officer
Maryellen Torres, Chief Brand Officer
Dan Stone, Vice President of Franchise Development
Jim Sullivan, Vice President of Real Estate, Front Burner Brands and Vice President, Burger 21
Mike Lester, President of The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc.
Billy Grimm, President of GrillSmith


Front Burner Brands was established in 2011 in Tampa, Fla.

Company Description

Front Burner Brands (formerly known as TGS Restaurant Management) is a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Fla. It is affiliated with the corporate owners of and its management services extended to The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., founded in 1975 with more than 130 locations in North America and more than 20 locations currently in development, Burger 21 with 15 locations in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Virginia, and more than 20 in development in eight states, GrillSmith with five locations in the Tampa Bay area and other new franchise concepts in development. Front Burner Brands employs approximately 700 team members across all concepts. Franchised concepts contain more than 5,000 employees total.

Core Concepts

The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc.

With more than 130 restaurants in North America, existing locations in 35 states, Canada and Mexico and more than 20 locations currently in development, The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. is the premier fondue restaurant and a leading polished casual dining franchise. Founded in 1975, The Melting Pot continues to be a memorable dining experience. Guests enjoy a choice of fondue cooking styles and a variety of unique entrées combined with dipping sauces. The menu also includes cheese fondues, salads, fine wines and chocolate fondue desserts.

The Melting Pot quick stats:

  • 98 percent franchised
  • Four corporate-owned restaurants throughout Tampa Bay and Tallahassee
  • Average unit size – 5,400 square feet
  • Franchise fee – $45,000
  • Development cost – Approximately $1-1.2 million
  • Royalty fee – 4.5 percent

Burger 21

With 15 locations in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Virginia, and more than 20 in development in eight states, Burger 21 is a “beyond the better burger” fast-casual franchise concept founded in 2010. Burger 21 is a chef-inspired brand with offerings including 21 unique burger creations ranging from hand-crafted, freshly ground beef to chicken, turkey, shrimp and tuna burgers, specialty salads,  Angus beef hot dogs and an extensive shake bar including hand-spun shakes, floats and sundaes.

Burger 21 quick stats:

  • First new concept under Front Burner Brands
  • Average unit size – 2,600 square feet
  • Franchise sales program launched in September 2011.
  • First franchise deals signed in February 2012 for three units in Orlando. To date, Burger 21 has signed agreements to develop more than 25 franchised units in cities across the country.
  • Anticipate rapid franchise growth, single and multi-unit models
  • Franchise fee – $40,000. Fee is reduced for Area Development Agreements of four or more restaurants.

GrillSmith Restaurants

With five locations in the Tampa Bay area including Carrollwood, Clearwater/Countryside, Lakeland, New Tampa and
South Tampa, GrillSmith is a refined-casual, chef-inspired restaurant concept established in 2004 that specializes in innovative and creative interpretations of classic American dishes that surprise the palate, engage the mind and excite the senses.

GrillSmith quick stats:

  • Corporate-owned concept with six units in the Tampa Bay area
  • Average unit size – 6,500 square feet
  • Plan to test 5,000 square foot prototype with simplified menu and operations to fuel future growth.

Corporate Headquarters

Front Burner Brands Restaurant Support Center
8810 Twin Lakes Blvd. Tampa, FL 33614
Toll Free: 800-783-0867
Telephone: 813-881-0055
Fax: 813-889-9361

Media Contact

Alisha dos Santos
Communications Manager