We’re Chen-Chen and Antony from MAC’D, a fast-casual, build-your-own mac & cheese restaurant. Pick one of our six cheese sauces, a pasta base, add unlimited toppings like roasted broccoli and mushrooms, and top it off with anything from truffle oil to hot cheetos. We’re currently in San Francisco and Portland.
MAC’D was inspired by a mac & cheese restaurant called Homeroom, which Chen-Chen frequented while at Cal. Fast-casual has consistently been the fastest growing segment in the food and bev industry, so it made sense to apply that spin to an old-school comfort food like mac & cheese. It’s a social, nostalgic, late-night meal that’s both familiar in taste and unique in experience.
After graduating from Berkeley, Chen-Chen was a management consultant, but quickly realized that consulting wasn’t the career for him. Together with a part-time partner, he began drafting up ideas for a restaurant concept. The one that struck a chord was mac & cheese. After confirming high demand through several pop-ups in early 2017, Chen-Chen and his partner opened MAC’D’s first brick & mortar in SF’s Marina District. About 6 months in, Chen-Chen’s partner made a decision to pursue business school, and Chen-Chen ran the restaurant solo until opening up a second location. Antony was a friend of Chen-Chen’s and had been following MAC’D’s progress while a software engineer at AWS. He worked in restaurants throughout his life and after a brief stint as a chef in Milan, knew he wanted a career in the food industry. Chen-Chen had been pretty spread thin running two locations with eyes on a third, and good timing on both ends led to our partnership.
In a little over a year, we’ve successfully bootstrapped two locations in SF and have served over 75,000 meals. We’re profitable and have a validated concept in a city with among the highest costs in the US. We want to continue to grow and expand to other cities.
In Portland, we’re using low capital commissary kitchens to explore new food markets through catering and delivery. Commissaries give a low managerial overhead and remove front of house staffing / building costs. It’s a way of getting into new markets quickly and intelligently, with the goal of proving a market and getting our name out before investing in brick & mortar spaces.
We’ve identified roughly thirty cities across the US as potential locations for MAC’D. Our customers range from families looking for a predictable meal to more boisterous late night crowds. Our target markets are college towns, cities in the south and midwest, and ones with progressive food scenes, both in and outside the United States. We’re also ramping up on catering, so if you’re in SF and Portland, reach out! Our catering form is on www.getmacd.com. We’re also on instagram @getmacd.