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I Heart Mac & Cheese

I heart Mac & Cheese interior

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The newly opened Palm Springs I Heart Mac & Cheese franchise is managed by BMC Foods Corporation, headed up by entrepreneur Blu Bryan. Bryan brought his own brand of community-service focus to the franchise, and before he opened the restaurant (the first in California) he insisted that the franchise put in place some very forward-thinking management practices.

mac and cheese sign

Cheese Please

The menu features signature items as well as build your own mac & cheese.  Signature Mac & Cheese bowls include Buffalo Blue, Chick Parmesan, Lobster & White Truffe, Short Rib Philly, and Skinny Sweet & Spicy.

Buffalo Blue Mac & Cheese
Buffalo Blue

 

lobster white truffle mac cheese
Lobster White Truffle

There are also grilled cheese specialty sandwiches or you can build your own. Specialty items include a BLT and Cuban Grilled Cheese. And who doesn’t like a side of Tots?! Plus there are vegan meat and cheese options as well.

BLT cheese sandwich
BLT

And here’s something I bet you’ve never had – a Tacoroni. Build your own delicious Mac & Cheese stuffed inside a crunchy, nacho flavored tac shell.

tacaroni at mac and cheese

Community Based

Bryan is dedicated to ensuring that his I Heart Mac & Cheese franchise would be not only a successful dining option in Palm Springs, but that it would also provide an opportunity for employment targeting those who need help most. As Bryan maintains, “we aren’t in the restaurant business, but the people business.”

Bryan’s franchise is committed to providing opportunities for applicants that are often overlooked, including people with special needs, seniors, veterans, people on Social Security, and people from ‘second chance’ programs including persons who have previous criminal convictions. His goal is to provide meaningful employment and to let his workers begin a new journey. He says, “I want to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive team that does not discriminate against any religion, gender, orientation, or personal beliefs. We value and honor the lives and lifestyles of all of our team members.”

Bryan is also interacting with a local high school film program, providing an opportunity for students to create a commercial for his store. More than 180 students are involved in the promotional piece. In addition, his franchise is providing his high school workers with a scholarship for their future college careers.

high school commercial heart cheese
A group of Palm Springs High School FILM (Futures in Leading Media) students and teacher, Donnie Gerrell (front right), film a commercial for I Heart Mac and Cheese in Palm Springs. (Photo: Palm Desert Campus, UC San Bernardino Campus)

Giving Back Program

Giving back is critically important to Bryan’s success as an organization. He aligned with non-profit organizations to help raise funds to support their mission. For every new franchise location he opens, BMC Foods Corporation has pledged to donate $10,000 to a local community partner located near the new I Heart Mac & Cheese restaurant.

The restaurant’s Giving Back Program rewards local charities, including the no-kill animal shelter, the Living Desert animal park, schools and even municipalities, by providing 10% of the purchase amount back to the organization for people who identify themselves as a part of the charity.

For millions of people, a nourishing meal is a critical need. That is why BMC Foods created the I Heart Mac & Cheese Community Shared Table Program, an initiative to help his community fight hunger. Through this exciting program, BMC Foods donates surplus food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and other nonprofits throughout Southern California.

 

Random Acts of Kindness

In addition to institutional philanthropy, Bryan’s employees are empowered and encouraged to practice personal philanthropy as they conduct their jobs. One of the ways they are able to do this is through the RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Program. Each cashier is encouraged to give a free meal to one customer each shift. They may choose the person, but they cannot know them in advance. If they get a “positive vibe” about a customer who could appreciate or needs a free meal, they will have the ability to designate that person. And if an employee is mentioned favorably in a Yelp review, they receive a $5 reward.

Purpose Driven

Bryan states “At BMC Foods Corporation, we are purpose-driven. We model our purpose every day, connecting our work and daily activities to our business strategy, supporting each other’s efforts to be good stewards who create positive impact on all who come in contact with I heart Mac & Cheese. From the beginning, we keep our purpose front and center because it helps us to steward our business and our work to positively influence everyone we meet.”

 

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