The House That Fried Chicken Built Turns 70 this October
Perfectly seasoned, satisfyingly crispy, and delightfully comforting are a few words that describe Max’s Restaurant’s famous chicken, a dish that has remained a favorite among Filipinos for so long that it is an institution. There is definitely something special about Max’s fried chicken that sets it apart from the others. It is, some might say, a palatable source of Filipino pride.
Not just anybody can cook chicken in the deeply authentic and Filipino way Max’s Restaurant does. Max’s fried chicken is a dish made with love through a recipe that has passed through careful hands across generations, and is suspected to comprise much more than secret seasonings and undiscovered cooking techniques. “Our goal is to ensure we replicate this Sarap-to-the-Bones chicken experience in each restaurant,” Director and Chief Marketing Officer of Max’s Group Inc., Jim Fuentebella shares.
MAX’S GROUP INC. EXECUTIVES
It is this diligence and dedication to detail that some claim “The House That Fried Chicken Built” became what it is today. Typical of the Filipino hospitality, the restaurant’s founder Maximo Gimenez frequently welcomed American soldiers into his home for hearty meals in 1945, after World War II. The soldiers enjoyed themselves so much and so often that they began to insist on paying, and eventually convinced Maximo to open a cafe. His niece Ruby was the secret ingredient to the cafe’s success, as it was her recipes that were used in cooking the fare that later became famous. And needless to say, it was the chicken that became a favorite among the GIs, despite how different it was from the fried chicken they were accustomed to eating in the United States. What Ruby had to offer was clearly something genuine. Now known as “Nanay Ruby,” her talents proved capable of cooking much more than chicken, as the favorites among her fare include the famous Max’s Restaurant Sinigang, the Kare Kare, Pancit Canton and Lumpiang Ubod to name a few, all key elements to their successful and long lasting menu. A hallmark of genuine Filipino culinary tradition, Max’s Restaurant is a place of comfort that is every Filipino’s home away from home.
MAX’S EXHIBIT PHOTOS
Today, it is believed that the key to Max’s Restaurant’s longstanding success is that it was built through the years with the pure intent to be a thoughtful host. “Max’s is in our blood,” says Jim Fuentebella, when he speaks of the members of the board. “The personal connection we have with the brand is what drives us forward, and is what inspires us to cascade the guest-host relationship to all of our branches. Generosity and hospitality, which are virtues my lola lived, are messages we want to communicate on all levels.”
Time truly flies when the stomach is satisfied. This year, Max’s Restaurant is celebrating 70 years of delightful restaurant service that has managed to grow from a simple home cooking cafe to a successful international restaurant chain. A 70 year career in the competitive food industry is certainly something noteworthy and a definite cause for celebration. A milestone event that the restaurant hopes to share with its long time customers and friends, Max’s Restaurant celebrates this achievement in more ways than one, and thanks its supporters first.
Max’s Timeline: The Journey to 70
1945 It all began when Maximo F. Gimenez invited American troops for a fried chicken dinner, knowing they missed having home cooked meals. Word spread about the regular chicken dinners and good times they had at the Gimenez residence, which resulted in Maximo’s decision to open a small restaurant – Max’s Bar and Café.
1950 The Gimenez (Spouses Maximo and Mercedes Gimenez), Trota (Spouses Claro, and Maximo’s niece, Ruby Trota) and Sanvictores (Felipa S. Sanvictores, sister-in-law of Maximo) families formalized what had been an informal relationship to ensure Max’s Restaurant’s continued service.
1951 With Max Gimenez as an active proponent and founding member, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines was established. The organization’s objective is to upgrade and professionalize the industry, progressively changing the way it has grown through the decades.
1953 Almost a decade after the restaurant opened, a 2nd location in Parañaque was erected, which later on was moved to Baclaran at Roxas Boulevard corner Redemptorist Road.
1956 The name Q.C. Max’s, Inc., The House that Fried Chicken Built is registered as a trade name under the Philippine Trademark Law. Soon after, the company adopted its logo consisting of a rooster and a hen, both in color, dancing and flirting with each other.
1971 The Trota family opens a Max’s Restaurant in Gotesco at C.M. Recto, and introduced low-cost meals to offer its predominantly student clientele.
1982 Erlinda Fuentebella, daughter of co-founders Sps. Claro and Ruby Trota, moves her family to the USA to set up Max’s on Gellert Street, San Francisco – the first Max’s outlet outside of the Philippines. Nine years later, the restaurant moves to El Camino Real South San Francisco.
1984 Wary of the political situation in the country, Edgardo Trota, son of co-founders sps. Claro and Ruby Trota, opens Max’s of Manila in Los Angeles, followed four years later with another Max’s Restaurant at San Diego in California.
1994 Max’s officially adopted the tagline “Sarap to the Bones,” and announced its first celebrity endorser, the multi-awarded celebrity icon, Gary Valenciano.
1995 Max’s celebrates its 50th year in business with 34 restaurants operating in the Philippines and four in the United States (two in Los Angeles, one in San Diego, and another in San Francisco).
1997 Bill Rodgers, Maximo’s grandson and the only Gimenez heir working for the company, starts Max’s Franchising Inc. A Milestone for the owner operators of Max’s, starting the standardization of the Max’s brand, store image, menus and operating standards across all branches.
1998 In October, the first franchised Max’s Restaurant opens in Harrison Plaza.
1999 Third generation owner-operators, otherwise known as the Cousins’ Consortium, took a more strategic role in shaping Max’s future by systematizing and unifying the Max’s brand for both company and franchise owned branches. This includes food, service, brand imaging, aesthetics and architecture.
2000 The Philippine Franchising Association, in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry, recognizes Max’s Restaurant as the Most Promising Filipino Franchise of the Year.
2001 The Edgardo S. Trota Memorial Foundation, Inc. is incorporated and the Edgardo S. Trota Memorial Scholarship is launched; a program that serves as tribute and commemoration of the late Noni Trota’s hard work, making the target recipients children of Max’s employees.
2002 Max’s is given the Most Outstanding Restaurant Operations by the National Consumer Affairs Foundation in recognition “of exemplary performance and product excellence, corporate quality, service, and price affordability based on opinion surveys and evaluation benefitting the general public.”
2003 The first franchise of Max’s in the US opens, and, Max’s Franchising, Inc. is named the Outstanding Filipino Franchise of the Year – Food Category: Restaurant in the Annual Franchise Excellence Awards, a joint project of the Philippine Franchising Association, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Retailers Association, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The following year, Max’s receives the same award and is elevated to the Hall of Fame.
2004 On June 30, Max’s, is named the super brand by Superbrands Publications Philippines. In presenting the certificate to Max’s Restaurant Superbrands General Manager Karl McClean said, “When people think fried of chicken in the Philippines, they think of Max’s fried chicken. This is a true definition of a Superbrand.”
2007 Adapting to the needs of its consumers, Max’s begins offering new dishes, specifically Merienda products such as pancit luglug and seafood lomi, which are now part of Max’s roster of staple favorites.
2008 Max’s restaurants number a total of 118 in the Philippines. 64 of these restaurants are company-owned and 54 are franchised while there are six branches in the United States.
2010 A second Max’s branch is opened at Oahu in Hawaii. Celebrating 65 years, Max’s launches its most successful campaign ever, “Chicken All You Can” for P165. The owners felt it was time to give back to Max’s loyal customers. Max’s ended its successful one-month campaign with: “Kung Nabusog Namin Kayo, Nabusog Ninyo ang Aming Puso!”
2011 In January, Max’s opened a branch in Toronto, Canada, kicking off a series of other international branches, including Vancouver, Canada; Sydney, Australia; and later on in Middle East.
2015 Max’s is awarded The Global Filipino Franchise Award. It is, “the highest accolade bestowed to Philippine franchise companies, which have become benchmarks in overseas expansion, proudly raising the Philippine flag in foreign shores.”
For their excellence in international market penetration, Max’s Restaurant was awarded for their marketing strategies and business operations made to ensure successful international operations, as well as sales and financial performance.
The distinctive PwC Iconic Filipino Franchise was awarded to Max’s Restaurant for being one of the strongest and well-loved Filipino brands that withstood the test of time while bringing pride to the nation.
Max’s Restaurant’s Franchises were finalists for the Outstanding Franchisee Award. These are Max’s Restaurant in Zamboanga City and Michelle Alonto of Max’s Restaurant Balanga, Bataan who won the award.
About Max’s Restaurant
Max’s, one of the country’s leading casual dining restaurant traces its roots to a family’s generosity and passion for good food. Max’s, “the house that fried chicken built,” continues to innovate and expand worldwide with plans to open branches outside the United States. Today, Max’s Restaurant has established itself as a household name, an institution, and a proud Filipino tradition, zealously upholding the values passed on from its early beginnings in 1945 to the present –day generation of food aficionados. For the most exciting updates about Max’s Restaurant, log on to www.maxschicken.com or visit www.facebook.com/maxsrestaurant to be a Max’s Restaurant Facebook fan.