The city streets are lined with food trucks.
But 2012 Drexel graduate Marti Lieberman still found something missing. In fall 2012, she opened up Philadelphia’s first mac ‘n’ cheese food truck, Mac Mart, on her alma mater’s campus.
Word spread quickly and the city’s only mac ‘n’ cheese food truck was soon traveling around visiting popular spots like Love Park and catering private events. Lieberman even caught the eye of Zagat, a traveling review website, and made its “30-under-30” list for young Philadelphians in the culinary scene.
“It was pretty cool to be put on this prestigious list,” Lieberman said. “I don’t consider myself a chef but all of the recipes are mine and my sister, Pamela Lieberman’s.”
Lieberman and her sister have one cheese sauce recipe, but created up to 53 different mac ‘n’ cheese recipes. They serve about five types of mac ‘n’ cheese out of their food truck each day but can provide much more when catering events. When considering toppings, Mac Mart has a couple thousand mac ‘n’ cheese combinations to choose from.
The small business owner and cook had very different plans for her future when she graduated from Drexel University in 2012. With a degree in corporate and public relations, she hoped to get a job in either in fashion or public relations. Lieberman found one in the fashion industry but knew it wasn’t for her.
Following the advice of her mother and grandfather, Lieberman had to find a backup plan before she could quit her job.
“I was at dinner one night and I just spit out that I was going to open a mac ‘n’ cheese food truck,” Lieberman said. “I had joked about it with my family and friends before because they really like the mac ‘n’ cheese that I made but I really didn’t think it was going to happen.”
With the support of her mother and grandfather, she began researching exactly how to get her mac ‘n’ cheese food truck business off the ground. Lieberman also networked online, her favorite part of the job.
“My sister and I are professional cooks, but I consider myself an entrepreneur,” Lieberman said. “My passion is in the business and customer service side.”
Lieberman also credits the marketing aspect of social media for helping her business grow.
“I really pay attention to reaching out to my customers on social media because I think that is how I stayed in business,” Lieberman said. “I respond to everyone and we like to put up pictures too.”
All of her marketing efforts are clearly paying off. Aside from the Zagat mention, Mac Mart is also expanding and opening two concession stands in the Wells Fargo Center this fall. Lieberman has also gotten calls from prospective clients in Los Angeles and Chicago.
Lieberman said Mac Mart’s success was unexpected, but that hasn’t stopped her from taking full advantage of it.
“I’d really like to keep expanding,” Lieberman said. “I want to become a mini chain around the country for college students and special events.”
Siobhan Redding can br reached at firstname.lastname@example.org