History of Front Burner Brands


The Melting Pot opened its first location in Maitland, Fla., outside of Orlando. First restaurant had four tables and a limited menu consisting of cheese, beef and chocolate fondue.


The Melting Pot opened second restaurant in Orlando.


Johnston brothers opened The Melting Pot’s first franchise location outside of the Orlando market in Tallahassee,
Fla. Current sustained operations: 3


Johnston brothers opened The Melting Pot franchise in Tampa, Fla.


The Melting Pot franchise location opened in Gainesville, Fla.


Johnston brothers purchased all rights to the restaurant chain and established The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. The next 10 years are marked by conservative growth as the newly formed franchise company assessed the short-term growth opportunities and long-term strategic growth plan. Johnston brothers opened company units in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, Fla.


The Melting Pot opened 2-3 franchised restaurants per year. Slow, but steady growth.


The Melting Pot launched aggressive efforts to educate, engage and train franchisees. By this time, 26 restaurants


The Melting Pot opened 20 restaurants (averaging 3 to 5 per year).


TGS Restaurant Management, Inc., the restaurant management company for The Melting Pot, was founded.


The Melting Pot opened 10 restaurants.


The Melting Pot opened 10 restaurants.


The Melting Pot opened 10 restaurants, total 66 opened restaurants.


The Melting Pot opened 16 locations, total 85 stores opened.
GrillSmith Restaurant Group, Inc. launched in Tampa, and the first GrillSmith location opened in Clearwater, Fla.


The Melting Pot turned 30 and celebrated opening its 100th location.


Introduced 12 new Melting Pot locations and more than 30 signed and in development.
GrillSmith opened its second location in South Tampa.


The Melting Pot opened 19 locations and 42 were in development.
GrillSmith opened its third and fourth locations in Lakeland and the Carrollwood area of Tampa, Fla.


The Melting Pot opened 15 locations and 26 were in development.
GrillSmith opened its fifth location in the New Tampa area of Tampa, Fla.


The Melting Pot signed first international franchise agreement for Western Canada and introduced seven new locations.
The sixth GrillSmith location opened in Brandon, Fla.
Burger 21 concept development process began.


The Melting Pot celebrated its 35th anniversary, opened its first international location in Edmonton, Alberta Canada
as well as its first Mexico location in Mexico City as part of a seven-unit deal in Mexico, and closed 10 units.
The first Burger 21 location opened in the Westchase area of Tampa, Fla.


TGS Restaurant Management officially changed its name to Front Burner Brands as the management company
for all affiliated concepts.

Burger 21 launched its franchise program and sales initiative and opened its second company-owned location in the Carrollwood area of Tampa, Fla.

The GrillSmith concept was rebranded and re-launched.


Burger 21 signed its first-ever franchise deals for three units in Orlando, Fla., followed by deals for locations in Atlanta, Voorhees, N.J., Washington, D.C. and Charlotte, N.C. Two company-owned locations opened in Lakeland and New Tampa, Fla., and in November, Burger 21 opened its first franchised location in Orlando, Fla.

The Melting Pot announced plans to bring its fondue dining experience to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through a five-unit franchise deal, and signed the largest franchise deal in the company’s history to bring 12 units to eight countries in the Middle East over eight years as well as a five-unit deal for Indonesia.


Burger 21 signed eight new franchise agreements to develop 14 new units and grew to 10 open locations.


Burger 21 grew to 15 locations with 25 in development and became a standalone company under the leadership of founders Mark and Arlene Johnston, ending its affiliation with Front Burner Brands.

The Melting Pot opened a new location in Mobile, Ala.

GrillSmith closed its underperforming Brandon location to pave the way for future growth of the concept throughout Florida.


The Melting Pot expanded outside of North America with the opening of a location in Southeast Asia in Jakarta, Indonesia and one in the Middle East in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.