Tampa, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2014) – Front Burner Brands, Inc., restaurant management company for premier fondue restaurant franchise The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., Burger 21 and GrillSmith, headquartered in Tampa, Fla., has made strategic hires in marketing and brand management to support the continued evolution and strategic growth of its restaurant concepts. Maryellen Torres joined Front Burner Brands this summer as its first-ever chief brand officer, while Michele Whaley became the company’s new senior director of marketing. Additionally, Stacey Floberg was hired this fall as marketing director for The Melting Pot brand.

“Maryellen, Michele and Stacey each come to Front Burner Brands with more than 20 years of marketing experience working with major brands,” said Bob Johnston, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors for Front Burner Brands. “We are confident that they will be assets to our team and our network of franchisees as we continue evolve our brands and expand on both a national and international level.”

As Front Burner Brands’ first-ever chief brand officer and part of the executive leadership team, Maryellen Torres provides strategic direction in the areas of brand management, consumer research, digital strategy, creative vision and services, local marketing efforts and communications programs. Prior to joining Front Burner Brands, she served as vice president of global marketing for Ashley Furniture Industries and her experience also includes strategic marketing, brand development and management consulting with prestigious companies, including The Walt Disney Company, the TJX Companies and Booz Allen Hamilton.

“I’m thrilled to join an established company like Front Burner Brands at such an exciting time in its history,” said Torres. “Its restaurant concepts are evolving and growing strategically and I look forward to working with the team to further build on this momentum and drive the brands forward.”

Michele Whaley joins Front Burner Brands as its new senior director of marketing. In her new role, she will lead the internal marketing support team and oversee all external marketing partners and resources, while partnering with the marketing teams of each concept to support local marketing initiatives. Throughout her career, she has supported renowned brands such as McDonald’s, Massage Envy Spa and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Whaley most recently served as director of advertising and public relations for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa.

The newest addition to the Front Burner Brands marketing team, Stacey Floberg brings more than 20 years of marketing experience in the food industry to her new position of director of marketing for The Melting Pot brand. She most recently served as account director at Fishbowl, Inc., a leading provider of marketing software and services to the restaurant industry. Her experience also includes marketing management positions with The Food Group, a food marketing and advertising agency, Shells Seafood Restaurants, Tyson Food Service Prepared Foods Group, Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Pizza Inn and Boston Market.

Stacey will lead marketing initiatives for The Melting Pot brand and work closely with The Melting Pot’s local marketing consultants team to support marketing success across all of The Melting Pot’s local markets. Formed in 2013, The Melting Pot’s local marketing consultants team provides one-on-one consultation to Melting Pot franchisees to enhance the brand’s micro-local marketing focus.

Front Burner Brands’ unique restaurant concepts set it apart from industry standards as each brand strives to provide top-notch service, the freshest, highest quality ingredients and a unique dining experience for its guests. The Melting Pot, which operates more than 130 restaurants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and has more than 20 locations in development internationally, is the world’s premier fondue restaurant and a leading polished casual dining franchise. Burger 21, a new better burger franchise, has 15 locations open in seven states and more than 20 in development in eight states. Furthermore, refined-casual concept GrillSmith offers hand-crafted food and drink at its five locations in the Tampa Bay area.

To learn more about The Melting Pot and Burger 21, including franchise opportunities, visit www.meltingpot.com and www.burger21.com.

About Front Burner Brands
Front Burner Brands 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 open in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Virginia, and more than 20 in development in eight states, and GrillSmith with five locations in the Tampa Bay area. For more information, visit http://www.frontburnerbrands.com.

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