I Heart Mac & Cheese, a fast-casual concept specializing in customizable, made-to-order macaroni and cheese bowls and grilled cheese sandwiches, announced today a new franchise agreement with Steven Garcia and Jeremy Valdez, who will open a location in Phoenix, Arizona,I he this year.

“I Heart Mac & Cheese is a fun, attractive concept and an affordable franchise model that is easy to operate, with support systems in place to help our partners be successful,” says Stephen Giordanella, I Heart Mac & Cheese CEO and Chairman. “We are thrilled to continue to grow across the country and launch our popular concept in Arizona’s metropolitan area.”

Jeremy Valdez dedicates himself to acting in Los Angeles while Steven Garcia works as a medical sales representative in Phoenix. Both new owners are successful entrepreneurs excited to explore this new chapter of their careers in the world of franchising. Garcia will oversee the day to day operations while Valdez will manage all administrative and financial needs for the new Phoenix location.

“We were extremely impressed by I Heart Mac & Cheese’s innovative business model and were attracted to its different food concepts that catered to our unique diets,” adds Garcia. “From the gluten-free ingredients to vegan options, there is literally something for everyone at I Heart Mac & Cheese, and we’re excited about introducing a quality new brand like this to Phoenix.”

In addition to Arizona, several other locations have recently been announced, with upcoming openings in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York and Texas.

I Heart Mac & Cheese is well-known for chef-inspired, custom, build-your-own macaroni and cheese bowls and grilled cheese sandwiches. Guests select a pasta, bread, quinoa, broccoli or cauliflower base along with seven different proteins, vegetables, and cheeses. Most recently, the brand unveiled a new vegan menu featuring plant-based options through an official partnership with Beyond Meat®. A variety of gluten-free options are also available. In addition to customized options, the menu includes specialty chef special items like Baked Chicken Parmesan, Baked Meatball Parmesan, The Cuban, Pepperoni Pizza, and Lobster & White Truffle Mac, among others. Sesame ginger, mango habanero, buffalo, BBQ, and pesto are a few of the delicious dressings and sauces available to mix in or top off each creation. Guests can pair their meal with the perfect side of Tomato Soup and finish it with a selection of desserts such as Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies and Marshmallow Treats.

A unique franchise concept in the restaurant industry with no fryers, grease trap systems or hood systems, I Heart Mac & Cheese requires a low investment and can be opened in a small space, such as a mall kiosk or food court. Shopping malls, sports venues, areas close to colleges and universities, and high-traffic pedestrian areas are also ideal locations.  With a home office in South Florida, I Heart Mac & Cheese offers franchise owner training, marketing support and ongoing development opportunities to ensure each location’s success.

This month, I Heart Mac & Cheese was selected by QSR Magazine as one of America’s hottest startup fast-casual brands on their annual 40/40 list showcasing emerging concepts with fewer than 40 locations. In 2019, I Heart Mac & Cheese was ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top new franchise opportunities.

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