Cheech Marin Launches “Stoner Food” Virtual Brand

Cannabis is having a moment, and celebrity weed-enthusiast Cheech Marin, of ‘Cheech & Chong’ fame is taking full advantage. Marin has teamed up with award-winning chef Zach Neil to launch Muncheechos, a nationwide, virtual brand catering to stoners, run out of ghost kitchens.

The humble marijuana plant – which has been used medicinally, ritually and recreationally for millennia— is, perhaps, more popular than ever. Sure, the 70s happened. But it was a different time. As popular as weed was, it was illegal and considered part of the ‘counterculture’ movement (of which, Marin was arguably king).

READ MORE: The Rise of Cannabis: What Bars & Restaurants Need to Know Now

Today, the recreational use of cannabis is legalized in 18 states, and as we learned at VIBE Conference 2021, federal legislation is imminent.  In July, market research firm Headset, projected the cannabis market will exceed $30 billion in sales by 2023. Bar & Restaurant has long encouraged savvy operators to embrace the emerging market, and we’ve featured cannabis-specific sessions at both Bar & Restaurant Expo (formerly Nightclub & Bar Show) and VIBE Conference 2021.

Despite the existence of Taco Bell, Muncheechos claims to be the first brand to specifically offer “stoner food”, with stoners in mind. Their eclectic menu reads like a stoner’s dream, complete with punny names like ‘Dope Dumplings’, chicken and scallion-stuffed fried dumplings, ‘Muncheechos Munchachos’, decadent BBQ chicken mac and cheese nachos, and ‘The Hybrid’, a salty and sweet grilled cheese with Gouda, brie, cheddar, gruyere, sliced apple and a salted caramel drizzle. They will also offer CBD-infused edibles and a selection of vegan options.

READ MORE: 2022 Slated to be the Year of Cannabis

Muncheechos is a delivery-only virtual brand. All of their food is produced in ghost kitchens and delivered straight to customers’ doors. According to the brand’s press release, demand for delivery has spiked 8,000% over the last year.

"With ghost kitchens, we don’t need to invest millions in real estate or expensive licenses, a large staff or fancy building,” explains Neil, “We simply lease a small commercial kitchen space staffed with 4 people and we are ready to blaze! Instead of 6 months and a million dollars to open a restaurant, we need about 6 weeks and $50k. We will be able to grow fast and open multiple locations in each city, with 25 locations within three years and plan to have four in LA county within the first year."

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Ghost Kitchens

While the brand is infused with a ‘for stoners, by stoners’ mentality, Marin recognizes its versatility and broad appeal. “"Late night stoners get the munchies and we are there. Mid-day snackers, study sessions, creative sessions, studio sessions: we aren’t just for the pot heads, we’re also for the creatives, the designers, artists, writers, musicians, night owls and dreamers. We provide the food that makes people happy, foods they crave, and we bring it right to them, even at 3am."

We don’t know much about the brand yet, but according to their Instagram hashtags, you can expect to see Muncheechos on delivery apps in New York and Los Angeles soon.

Independent operators should take note. Muncheechos is taking advantage of four massively popular F&B trends: the post-Covid ‘homebody economy,’ the rapidly expanding delivery market, premiumization and, of course, cannabis. Beyond that, ghost kitchens are highly optimized operations. Their menus are the result of careful local research – literally created to have mass appeal for a delivery-centric audience. Keep an eye on what they’re serving, you might get inspired to add something new to your menu (just make sure it resonates with your audience and brand).  

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