The Guys from Maxi’s know How to Maximise Opportunities
Founded in 1993 as a casual dining restaurant, Maxi’s has grown to a chain of 44 stores and this trend shows no signs of letting up. Current indications are that the brand, which is part of the Alt-X-listed Taste Holdings stable, will continue to make waves in the sector for all the right reasons.
Maxi’s is a family restaurant that serves a wide range of tasty and wholesome meals. The brand caters for breakfast, lunch and early dinner by offering a wide range of tasty and wholesome meals in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
No recession for Maxi’s
While some other brands in the fast food sector lament about a fall-off in business, Maxi’s management have embarked on an aggressive expansion drive.
Following the appointment of Christo Calitz (he of Pleasure Foods fame) as managing director, the first step was to upgrade the somewhat tired image of Maxi’s. This presented challenges of its own because care had to be taken not to alienate the brand’s existing followers, some of whom had supported it for almost 15 years.
- The first of Maxi’s new-look stores opened its doors at the Cape Gate Shopping Centre in Cape Town. Dubbed ‘Millennium Maxi’, the concept offers warm, classical and inviting designs and colours that signal a complete departure from the traditional fast food feel.
- Separate menus, one to cater for breakfast, another to take care of the lunch and dinner trade, were introduced. The Mini Maxi’s menu, aimed at young customers, was also revised.
Public acceptance of these changes was extremely positive. As a result, the new look will be rolled out throughout the network. Already, several strategic sites, including Alberton City, Menlyn, Jakaranda and East Rand Galleria have received their makeovers while others will follow.
The revamp makes sound commercial sense. According to Calitz, existing revamped stores show growth in turnover of between 16-32% on last year. That this was achieved during a period when others in this sector allege that we are facing a recession demonstrates the savvy of Maxi’s management. It also bears testimony to the dedication of the network’s franchisees.
Fostering community spirit
The restaurant business is a very personal one; branding, d?®cor and menus are important, certainly, but the quality of individual relationships with the target market should not be underestimated either. Indeed, much of Maxi’s recent success comes as a direct result of carefully selected community initiatives. Two examples follow:
- Maxi’s Eastgate branch supported the CANSA Shavathon 2008 by providing 50 CANSA volunteers with food and cool drinks throughout the day. Maxi’s head office staff was also at the centre, showing their support by having their hair either coloured or shaved.
- At the recent opening of a Maxi’s store in Il Posto, Pretoria, franchisees Patrick and Sandra Goss donated R1 500 to the NSPCA Pretoria.
Said group MD Christo Calitz: ‘Maxi’s and all their franchisees believe in getting involved in the activities of the communities they serve. We love to show that we are serious about giving back.’ He continued: ‘We know that with Patrick and Sandra at the helm, the Il Posto store is in good hands.’
Patrick and Sandra are excited, and positive about their future. ‘I have always been a Maxi’s patron. Becoming a Maxi’s franchisee gives Sandra and me the opportunity to do what we love most, entertaining. I also think that we are representing a brand that can truly have a positive impact on the appetites of South African families.’
Expansion through acquisition
Apart from opening new restaurants, Maxi’s management is also actively looking for opportunities to turbo-charge growth. With this in mind, Maxi’s holding company Taste Holdings have recently acquired the rights to certain BJ’s restaurants located within Caltex service station forecourts.
At the outset, this transaction brings 8 BJ’s sites into the fold; they will be converted to Maxi’s outlets. The deal, which is unconditional, has the potential to be expanded to cover approximately 13 sites within the Caltex highway network over time.
The acquisition of the BJ’s outlets and their conversion to the Maxi’s brand increases Maxi’s footprint at high traffic sites. Calitz describes it as ‘both margin and earnings enhancing without increasing operating costs within the brand.’
Did we whet your appetite?
To find out more about the Maxi’s opportunity, go to ‘featured franchisors’ and select the Maxi’s listing.