I Heart Mac & Cheese, a fast-casual concept specializing in made-to-order, fully customizable build your own bowls and grilled sandwiches, has announced that over the past thirty days, the company has executed 20 new franchisee agreements—spanning nine states from California to the Carolinas. This milestone also brings the company across the 100 units franchised watermark—all over the past 18 months.
“We are expanding our brand during a time where competitors in the space are downsizing, and in some cases, closing their doors,” I Heart Mac & Cheese CEO Steve Giordanella shared. “This unprecedented momentum across our growing franchisee community validates our hypothesis that consumers want something different from the traditional fast food model – and we are able to deliver that to them."
From the brand’s unique low overhead franchisee model, to corporate investment in marketing + brand positioning refinement, along with a menu experience that enables today’s Quick Service consumer an option far better than burger combo meals, I Heart Mac & Cheese is strengthening its foothold in the Quick Service and Fast Casual industry.
The I Heart Mac & Cheese franchisee community is as diverse as its menu offering—with a mix of seasoned restaurant veterans who recognize the potential of this brand, to the average working class American who wants to make a smart investment in their future and create a legacy for their family, I Heart Mac & Cheese is very attractive to a variety of different kinds of operators.
Why are franchisees so drawn to this concept? “This concept was the perfect opportunity to help us diversify our businesses portfolio. The corporate backing, support and infrastructure of this growing brand made this an easy decision for us, shared franchisees Seema and Shaleen Bhatnagar, who have invested in multiple I Heart Mac & Cheese locations.
Another draw to the brand is the collection of accolades they’ve amassed, despite only being in the competitive space for a short time. USA Today listed I Heart Mac & Cheese as one of the top 10 Best—Fast Casual restaurants. The list also included other fast casual name brands including Chipotle Mexican Grill and Au Bon Pain. QSR Magazine, additionally, published that the company was worthy of their “40/40 List for 2020: America’s Hottest Startup Fast Casuals” and the company even was ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top new franchise opportunities.