The Recipe to Maxi’s Success
Founded in 1993 as a single quick service casual dining restaurant, Maxi’s has grown to a chain of 44 stores.
With a vision to position Maxi’s as the preferred quick service restaurant industry chain in South Africa, the company embarked on a mission to reinvigorate the fourteen year old brand.
The first new Maxi’s store image restaurant was introduced at Cape Gate Mall in June 2007, with great results and plenty of positive feedback from the public.
Since the launch of the new Maxi’s store image, a further four new restaurants have opened in the design and four strategic sites have been revamped, namely Menlyn, Jakaranda, Alberton City and East Rand Galleria, with the revamped stores reporting up to 25% increase in sales since their revamp. Currently there are two more stores about to undergo the revamp knife, Kolonnade and Westgate; with new stores opening in Lambton and N1 City in March in the new look.
With a new approach to business under the leadership of Christo Calitz, the company has decided that the time is right to undergo a complete revamp of its menu offering, store d?®cor and to position the brand in a more trendy fashion.
With consumer wants and needs in mind, changes included two specialised menu offerings instead of one extensive formal menu as before; one for breakfast and another called the maximum menu for lunch and dinner.
Their Mini Maxi’s menu was also revamped and now has a bigger selection of meals to make them feel as important as the rest of the family is to Maxi’s. Balloon trees that form part of the store design were also recently introduced to make the mini-diner feel more at home. Maxi’s now also offers kiddies birthday parties and going forward, will become even more child friendly.
The Maxi’s focus has always been one of mouth watering meals, substantial portions and is completely different to what its competitors are offering and they are always on the look out for ways to further entrench that focus. Even though the menus have been revamped, all products offered at Maxi’s are available on the take away menu as well.
With a revolutionary design inspired to take the brand back to its core values, Maxi’s decided to move away from the traditional colours used by quick service restaurants such as reds, yellows and white.
The new “Millennium Maxi’s” offers warm, classical, inviting and unique colours and features that form part of its new design. By creating a colour harmony with feature walls in ‘pumpkin’, complimented by predominant walls in ‘mushroom’ beige, the ambiance is immediately set for a cosy, welcoming and relaxed environment to improve the dining experience. Limiting the use of black to certain finishes such as upholstery on bench seating, the colour combination is the perfect fit.
Maxi’s new colours are subtly conveying a message that their new image is not only attractive and inviting but that the brand is serious about creating a new trend in the quick-service restaurant industry.
TABLES AND SEATING
Exclusively designed cherry wood finished tables with art deco inspired chromed legs add to the warmth and compliment the rich colours used in the design.
Purposely moving away from what their competitors are doing, Maxi’s introduced a woven bucket chair that is not only aesthetically pleasing but more importantly, offers total comfort and relaxation. These chairs are specifically imported from Malaysia and impregnated with a ‘pumpkin’ colour dye to match the new Maxi’s look, making it impossible for competitors to copy.
To add to the comfort of the dining experience, more bench-style seating has been introduced. The ‘pumpkin’ leatherette backrests with black cushioning also followed a similar process and needed to be dyed to match the brand’s exact colour specifications. Also manufactured with chrome legs, the bench-style seating adds a modern flair of its own.
As with the chrome legs of Maxi’s new seats, the restaurant also offers unique power coated stainless steel balustrades with a modern curved design, finished with pillars that host big fitted lights. The powder coating stainless steel pillar lights, designed in contrast with the warm, rich yet modern interior colours, create a visual interest and at the same time, attract the interest of shoppers during the day or the night.
FLOORS AND CEILINGS
Floor surfaces have purposely been kept in a neutral sand stone colour finish so that it does not to detract from the store and furniture design. In specific stores, certain sections such as receptions and outside areas will be elevated through the use of black tiles to demarcate selected areas.
Instead of ceiling boards, Maxi’s has opted for plastered upmarket effect and feel ceiling that support down lighters that are strategically placed to highlight certain focus points.
Wanting to a make statement, Maxi’s moved away from framed art and created fascinating block mounted pieces of art. Normal close-up facial shots of appealing and interesting people showcasing all ages and races were bought from an image library and through digital manipulation transformed an ordinary photograph into a work of art.
The pictures are positioned against the ‘mushroom’ colour walls and are brought to life with suspended down lighters. The ‘pumpkin’ feature walls are a design element and are also lit up with down lighters to add to the ambiance and warmth.
As with Maxi’s original design of having an open-plan kitchen, the new look retains certain of the core value elements. With strategic dry walling in place, the grill area is exposed to stimulate patrons’ senses even more. They are able to see the levels of activity and the preparation, smell the food being prepared, hear the sizzle of the burgers and feel the welcoming buzz that Maxi’s creates.
Even the kitchen wall received special attention to make it modern and different, yet hygienic and practical to clean. Brushed stainless steel walls with blue square glass tiles forming an illuminated background, have now become an integral part of the store image.
Overcoming the challenge of creating a unique take away counter design without a fast-food feel and that suited the image of the brand best, saw a piece of modern art taking shape. Traditionally the last thought in store design, Maxi’s saw an opportunity to create a visual talking point.
With tops made from black granite, the front panels finished in brushed aluminium, and art deco pillars supporting the structure, it made perfect sense to flow through with the blue square glass tiles that formed an important element of the partially open kitchen design. With facets such as back lighting and the blue contrast, the counter becomes a feature of its own.
Traditionally used for fast food specials and combo meal offers, Maxi’s again moved away from convention. The bulkheads showcase great product photographs that make your mouth water and demonstrate the great food that they have on offer, enticing passer-by traffic to experience it for themselves. The blue tiles which surround the bulkhead also complete the piece of art and adds that final touch to the store design.
Forming part of the complete design, the bulkheads on its own make a statement that the Maxi’s brand is not shy to be different and it reflects their unique positioning in the industry.
One of the most important aspects to the repositioning process for Maxi’s was its branding and its signage. The company could not risk changing the branding too much and had to avoid alienating existing patrons and destroying a brand identity that took fourteen years to build. The decision was therefore taken not to completely move away from the previous brand identity but to update it to some extent.
As such they took the existing logo and updated it by modernising the lettering and adding a new visual icon in the pumpkin triangle which replaced the apostrophe. The triangle in the logo is a unique design element that has been used in various applications such as clothing and price points on the menus.
The previous box frame was removed and replaced with a stainless steel background. Behind the individual lettering, white UV neon lights now form a halo effect that has doubled brand visibility.
Where Maxi’s previously had a conservative diner uniform, the new look consists of black pants and black golf shirts with a ‘pumpkin’ trimming around buttons with the triangle icon on the collar. To add in a fun factor, staff will now also have ‘pumpkin’ peak caps as an added trendy element. The kitchen staff will continue wearing white chefs’ jackets but with added ‘pumpkin’ piping and black branded aprons and peak caps.