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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.


Spring – Burger 21 signed its first-ever franchise deals for three units in Orlando, Fla., followed by a deal for two locations in Atlanta. The Melting Pot announced plans to bring its fondue dining experience to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through a five-unit franchise deal.

Summer – Burger 21 signed a franchise deal for one unit in Voorhees, N.J., and opened two company-owned locations in Lakeland and New Tampa, Fla.

Fall – The Melting Pot announced 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 two franchise deals for four locations in Washington, D.C. and one location in Charlotte, N.C., and opened its first franchised location in Orlando, Fla.


Winter – Burger 21 signed franchise deals for one location in Sarasota, Fla., and one location in Albany, N.Y., and opened its sixth restaurant near the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Spring – Burger 21 signed two multi-unit franchise agreements to develop a total of seven restaurants in Fort Myers, Naples and Southeast Florida and a single-unit agreement for the Pittsburgh, Pa. market. The first Burger 21 location outside of Florida opened in Voorhees, N.J.

Summer – Burger 21 opened restaurants in the Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. markets and signed its first franchise deal for the western U.S. for one location in Chandler, Ariz.

Fall – Burger 21 signed franchise agreements for Pompano Beach, Fla., Sarasota, Fla., and Tempe, Ariz., and opened its tenth location in Fort Myers, Fla.