Max’s Group Inc.—best known for Max's Restaurant, Pancake House, Yellow Cab Pizza, Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice Teriyaki Boy, Dencio's, Kabisera, Sizzlin' Steak, Le Coeur de France, Max's Corner Bakery, Maple, Singkit—also includes the Meranti Hotel.
It began as a bar and café called Max’s in Scout Tuason, Quezon City, where Max's Restaurant still stands, that featured Ruby S. Trota's recipes, most especially her fried chicken. Within five years, the restaurant incorporated with Mr. and Mrs. Maximo F. Gimenez, Mr. and Mrs. Claro J. Trota, and Mrs. Felipa Sanvictores as founders.
Today, Jim Fuentebella helps propel Max’s Group Inc. forward in the 21st century as its Chief Marketing Officer.
“I think the heritage part of Max’s plays a big deal in terms of the values it was founded on. As we move forward, it’s really important for us to account for what happened in the past but not to dwell in the past because as of market changes and as new people are introduced in the brand, we want to make sure that we are relevant to them as well.”
Though Max's has forayed into the hospitality industry with Meranti Hotel, Fuentebella notes, “Right now, we are concentrated on our four star brands, which is Max’s, Krispy Kreme, Pancake House, and Yellow Cab. We’re giving it the right attention so that we are not de-focused on the job that we need to do.”
Max's has expanded overseas. In 1982, Max’s opened its first outlet outside the Philippines in San Francisco, California, USA. Currently, there are a total of 12 Max’s Restaurant outlets in North America. “I think the challenges there because they haven’t really been introduce to the narrative that is Max, to the story that is Max,” notes Fuentebella.
He then reveals Max's approach to appealing to overseas markets: “I think we’re consistent in the story and we’re consistent about core. So when I say core it’s the fried chicken and the attachments to fried chicken, which is the Ruby’s favorites. We have kare-kare (pork tripe in peanut stew), the pancit (noodles), and the crispy pata (deep-fried whole pork fore leg)—stuff that goes well together with the fried chicken. So that is always in the heart of the storytelling.”
Max's has been publishing its narrative with online content that feature heart-warming stories, some notably directed by Cannes Film Festival Award-winner Briliante Mendoza.
“I remembered meeting Briliante here, like here and I said it would be silly of me to tell you what to do for us because you are obviously who you are and reputable on what you do. So the question that we posed for him was: 'what do you want to do? And we will be the muscle behind it.' he recalls, noting, “These stories actually happen in many of the restaurants.”
Essential to the Max narrative is the traditional sauce paired with its storied fried chicken: a combination of banana catsup, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. “when I was growing up, I know the holy trinity of sauces in the Max’s and it’s almost fixture. It’s like a fixture on the tablescape. It dimensionalizes the experience of the chicken. I have to charge that with my lola (grandmother), I guess. My lola was the one who figured that all out. ”