Hi! We’re Erin and Allison, co-founders of Homeroom, and we’d love to tell you the story of how this all began. Homeroom got its start in the spring of 2009, at a crowded café in Rockridge. We met by chance, while sharing a table on a rainy Sunday morning. We spent a few hours chatting about food, travel, and our general love of cooking and eating; a short six months later, we returned to the same café and decided to leave our cushy office jobs to chase our dream of opening a restaurant. While we both had experience in the industry—Erin had worked in restaurant kitchens before becoming a lawyer, and Allison was a server before she entered corporate marketing—nothing had prepared us for the year it took to launch Homeroom. We started at underground markets and festivals, testing hundreds of mac+cheese recipes in our home kitchens, and spending long nights trying to figure out how to finance a dream restaurant on a tiny budget. Building the restaurant was definitely a community effort. Friends and family pitched in to design light fixtures, our husbands built tables out of reclaimed high school bleachers, and we even sealed the concrete floors ourselves, using hairdryers. Homeroom was the first restaurant to be successfully funded through a Kickstarter campaign, raising $7,600 in 36 days. Finally, after a year and a half of red tape, negotiations, and 18-hour days, Homeroom opened its doors on Valentine’s Day 2011. Nearly four years later, in December 2014, we opened Homeroom To-Go just down the street to accommodate the Bay Area’s ever-growing hunger for mac+cheese. Today, our amazing staff of 100 serves up over 5,000 macs each week; we’ve got thirteen different varieties available on any given day, as well as local beer and wine pairings and homemade desserts like oreos and peanut butter pie. We are so excited to keep the story going as we continue to grow Homeroom, and we hope to share a mac and cheese with you soon!
It's amazing to think that we started out with a staff of only twelve. Today, our incredible team serves up over 5,000 macs each week; we’ve got thirteen different varieties of mac available on any given day, as well as local beer and wine pairings, and homemade desserts like oreos and peanut butter pie. Homeroom has come a long way in the last few years! We now have Homeroom To Go open down the block from the restaurant. Come by and you'll find a selection of local craft beer and well-priced wines, funky artisan hot sauces, signed copies of our mac+cheese cookbook, and other fun things to take home! You can even place your order online or through our mobile app, and we'll have you in and out quick. We're fortunate to have so many opportunities to get involved in the awesome Oakland community that we love so much; whether it's hosting a "Prom Night" for children in Kaiser's Oncology Unit, or throwing a Gluten-Free Gluttony Party for people with Celiac, we're proud of the contributions we're able to make to the great folks and organizations who surround us. And, we're always striving to become an even better place to work. All of our employees earn a thrivable wage, and receive awesome benefits like health care, paid educational opportunities, and paths for success within the company. When we first opened Homeroom, one of our primary goals was to create a work environment where people not only loved coming in every day, but where they could learn, grow, and be empowered to help shape the future of the company (read more about what it's like to work at Homeroom here). We're thrilled at how Homeroom has evolved from a small restaurant into a Bay Area destination: a place people come to celebrate with us, to work, to make memories, to learn, and most of all, to experience the best mac+cheese they've ever had.
The Future of Homeroom: Our Vision for 2025
Our full ten-year vision is really long, but for those of you who would like to know some of the basics of where Homeroom is headed, here are the basics. For more details, read the full vision!
Ten years in one sentence: We hope that Homeroom will redefine what it means to be a restaurant company in America by pursuing growth that genuinely enriches local communities and staff.
The details: In ten years, we envision that Homeroom will slowly and steadily add between 2-5 locations guided by the rate at which we believe we can open new restaurants of the highest quality.
- Our mac and cheese will continue to be the best in the country (and the world!).
- Quality will be improved with scale by special partnerships with cheese-makers.
- New locations will feature special dishes and drinks that are unique to that restaurant.
- Our collaborative, innovative work culture will be stronger than ever.
- Homeroom University will provide inspiring, exciting educational opportunities for staff.
- Staff at all levels will be active on employee-run committees and clubs on myriad topics.
- Managers can grow from within, and will have an ownership stake in each new restaurant.
- We will have a diverse staff and leadership team, with a high number of female leaders.
- Each Homeroom location will reflect its community in its unique design.
- Homeroom’s inviting, playful, design will set it apart and make each location special.
- Our innovative design will extend to new products, such as a boxed mac and cheese.
- Homeroom’s service will truly embody its mission to be the best part of people’s day.
- We will enrich local communities through our business model and local investment.
- Homeroom will continue to be a place where people meet to eat, connect, and celebrate.
- We will have events and volunteer opportunities that contribute to local communities.
- Our financial performance will prove that restaurants can be more financially successful by focusing on more than just profits—by enriching employees, opening restaurants with character, having a diverse team, and by contributing to local communities.
- Our inclusive ownership structure financially benefits our staff and community.
- Staff embrace open-book management and contributing bottom-line improvements.
There’s lots more where that came from. Click here to read (and download) our entire 2025 Vision