Skip to Content

Y Combinator Just Forked Over a Bunch of Cash to a Build-Your-Own Mac and Cheese Restaurant Chain

Y Combinator, the incubator and investment fund that helped launch Dropbox, Airbnb and other startups, has added a restaurant to its list of investments. According to TechCrunch, Y Combinator invested $120,000 in fast-casual restaurant Mac’D.

Mac’d operates two restaurants in San Francisco that allow customers to build their own mac & cheese dishes, choosing from six cheeses and numerous toppings such as bacon, Korean short ribs, and broccoli.

The company also operates in Portland with what its founders described as a “ghost kitchen,” preparing orders that are only delivered through services like Postmates and Grubhub. Mac’d plans to use the ghost-kitchen model to expand in 5 to 7 cities during the next year, TechCrunch said.

In a post on Hacker News, Mac’d founders Antony Bello and Chen-Chen Huo said that they chose to work with Y Combinator because they wanted to scale the company quickly without opening too many brick and mortar restaurants.

“Our technology differentiation is taking advantage of the growth of delivery platforms to scale our business via commissary kitchens,” Huo and Bello wrote. “We’ve talked briefly about expanding to other concepts once we’ve established a network of staff and kitchens, but are looking to focus on the Mac’d brand and product first.”

Huo told TechCrunch that while the founders consider Mac’d to be more of a restaurant than a tech play, technology is playing an important role into growing its business.