IMAGE: I Heart Mac & Cheese
As part of ongoing franchise growth, this customizable fast-casual brand will be coming to Alabama in 2020.
With its first location opening in Fort Lauderdale in 2016, I Heart Mac & Cheese is a relative newcomer to the fast-casual scene. The brand currently has 13 locations dotted along the east coast, and through strategic franchise agreements, plans to expand its steadily growing footprint.
One such agreement has been made with Raj Patel, who will open three I Heart Mac & Cheese restaurants between now and 2021. Two of the planned three will open in Birmingham, Alabama, with the third scheduled for Tuscaloosa, also in the Heart of Dixie. These openings will be a milestone for the brand, as it’ll be the first time its popular mac and cheese offerings are available in the state.
“I’m thrilled to be opening the very first I Heart Mac & Cheese locations in Alabama, alongside my parents,” said Raj Patel. “We look forward to bringing this unique dining experience to Birmingham, and showcasing menu items that are reminiscent of everyone’s favorite childhood memories.”
The brand’s menu is brimming with fan favorites, such as the Baked Meatball Parmesan, the Lobster & White Truffle Mac, and The Cuban. I Heart Mac & Cheese also prides itself on its customization options, which enable patrons to build their own macaroni and cheese bowls, as well as grilled cheese sandwiches.
“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,” said Stephen Giordanella, CEO and chairman. “We are thrilled to bring our popular concept into the state of Alabama.”
The brand’s franchising options are certainly affordable, with the franchise fee varying from $35,000 to $75,000, and the total initial investment ranging from $207,500 to $337,000. Minimal real estate is also required, and the brand’s average floorplan is between 1,600 and 2,000 square feet.