How Momofuku’s ‘Objection’ Helped It Generate $50M In Sales

+ Marguerite Zabar Mariscal, Momofuku


Marguerite Zabar Mariscal is rarely satisfied. It’s not in her DNA, she says, nor that of the companies she helms: Momofuku, the admired restaurant group founded by David Chang, and Momofuku Goods, a brand of restaurant-quality pantry items inspired by modern Asian cuisine.

Marguerite, who took the reins of Momofuku in 2019 and co-founded its consumer brand the same year, describes the companies’ opposition to complacency as “a conscientious objection” that has fueled constant improvement.

That mindset helped Momofuku Goods generate $50 million in revenue in 2023, a year in which the brand was available in less than 4,000 retail locations. Despite the remarkable growth of Momofuku Goods, Marguerite is loath to rest on her laurels. She is, however, willing to be patient and cautious – perhaps to a fault – when it comes to the brand’s next stage of development.

We spoke with Marguerite about her leadership and management of both Momofuku and Momofuku Goods in an interview recorded at Expo West 2024. Within our conversation, she explains why “out-caring the competition” has been a critical part of the companies’ history and development, the reason that education about how to use its products is just as important as the food itself, how an intimate understanding of departmental operations has benefited her as a CEO, and why she’s intent on building a company that “has optionality.”

In this Episode

0:35: Marguerite Zabar Mariscal, CEO, Momofuku – Marguerite talks with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about her experience at Expo West, navigating the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and why she sees a rising tide in new ethnic food brands as lifting the entire category. She also discusses how Momofuku Goods incorporates data into its business strategy, what keeps her motivated as CEO, why being “inherently pessimistic” helps guide retail strategy and how the company identified and aligned with investors who believe in its patient approach to growth. Marguerite also explains how the restaurant group and consumer brand support each other, how David Chang factors into consumer perception of Momofuku amid post-super chef culture and her mindset that work is never done.

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