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Meet Christine Marcus of Alchemista in Leather District

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Marcus.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Christine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I had a successful career in federal government public sector finance, saving taxpayers millions in dollars, rising to the level of Deputy CFO of the US Department of Energy, with responsibility for overseeing and executing a $28 billion annual budget.

In 2011, I left it all behind to pursue a lifelong passion for education, being accepted into MIT’s prestigious Sloan Fellows MBA program.

Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, I started a catering concierge service (Alchemista) with my classmate, Sal Lupoli, to help small local restaurants break into the multi-billion dollar corporate catering sector.

I have been the Co-Founder and CEO of Alchemista ever since graduating MIT in 2012, and have grown the company from a (pizza sauce stained) napkin-sketch of an idea to over $5M in annual revenue, servicing multiple business streams, broadened into multiple markets, with further expansion on the horizon.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In a startup market that has tended to celebrate large venture raises, we decided to buck the trend when we launched – making a concerted effort to raise as little capital as we possibly could.

This has made it so that we have had to rely exclusively on (a lot of) hard work to get to where we have gotten.

Through all of this – and without the support of a C-Suite team – I commuted from DC to our headquarters in Boston weekly, ensuring I was present and “on the floor” whenever possible.

Alchemista – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Alchemista was created to help small caterers and restauranteurs compete with large national food service companies, for the lucrative corporate catering sector (which in the last few years has grown from one off events to companies increasingly serving dedicated meal plans as a perk/benefit to their employee base.)

And we have managed to achieve success in doing so while also bettering local communities at large.

Part of our business insight was that many restaurants and caterers are idle during the “business hours” of Monday through Friday (with most events transpiring in the evening or over the weekend).

Seeing this, we took the opportunity to activate that weekday-idle workforce and get them cooking. Not only propelling numerous restaurants to gain additional revenue streams and gain attention that would typically not be accessible, but putting a larger labor force to work when they would have otherwise been idle.

On the client side, we have grown our business from one that focussed on delivering food, to one that is dedicated to enriching work place culture through the power of food and branded experiences. When companies work with Alchemista they are not only feeding their workforce, but are positioning themselves to better fight and win the talent war by being beacons of better taste in a sea of status quo, same-old meal plans.

Center to all of this is the belief that when you work with us you don’t have to compromise quality at quantity, and that there is a power in using bread to break line-of-business boundaries.

Our belief is steadfast – that two tangibles – food and experience – when combined with the right oversight and passion can create a far greater, impactful intangible – Great Company Culture.

Food + Experience = Culture

Or more simply put, it’s a kind of alchemy,

1 + 1 = 3

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
When we first started Alchemista our focus was on food and the economies of the food service industry.

But I had always believed that there was a wider opportunity – one that sought to bring an element of design and style to what was otherwise a pretty boring market (food at scale). Once we had established the foundations of our business, and proven its viability, we made a concerted effort to shift everything we did to have an output that was not only taste worthy, but also an object of desire in its own right.

Because we believe that commerce can be successfully intersects with art, without compromising profitability.

Because we believe that food itself can be fashion in its own right.

Proving this – and continuing to grow it – in a way that has upset the status quo of “catering for work” has been creatively fulfilling as it brings my personal passions together with a business model that is not only sustainable, but rich with opportunity.

Contact Info:

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