Two concepts join in Max’s Kabisera

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MAX’S Kabisera at Bonifacio High Street

MAX’S GROUP Inc., opens its 196th location with a new concept that targets a market not “typical of a Max’s restaurant,” by combining the casual dining experience with a family restaurant concept the group is known for, according to a company executive.

Max’s Kabisera, formerly Kabisera ng Dencio’s (which then changed to simply, Kabisera), was a well-known dining option in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) among those who looking for bar chow and good beer in what was an upscale version of one of the Max’s Group brands, Dencio’s.

“We felt there was more potential [having] the Max’s brand merging with Kabisera. Kabisera stood well on its own for quite some time — it managed to build its own base and it’s a customer base that wasn’t directly [the customer base] of a typical Max’s restaurant,” Jim T. Fuentebella, chief marketing officer of Max’s Group Inc., told BusinessWorld during the launch Oct. 18.

“By combining what’s good about each [Max’s and Kabisera], then I think we’ll have a more unique corner here in High Street,” he added.

Mr. Fuentebella said the group decided not to change much of the store’s wood and industrial interior but incorporated more greenery and brighter lights to make it look more inviting.

“We value the importance of a high street in a community like Bonifacio [Global City] where the chain stores aren’t what is usually experienced,” he explained, before adding that they didn’t want to “come in heavy-handed in a high street location” where “[existing] Kabisera customers will not be put off by the Max’s brand coming in like that.”

And much of what Kabisera is known for — like its street food (kikiam, chicken balls, fish balls, etc.) and its Adobo Back Ribs, Pugon Lechon Belly, and a full bar — are still on the menu, with the addition of Max’s signature dishes including the fried chicken, crispy pata, and kare-kare.

“We wanted to provide those in BGC with a place that would give them that familiar warmth of Max’s but set in a way that caters more to their lifestyle and taste as we combine it with elements of Kabisera’s elevated and thoughtful aesthetic,” Paolo S. Serrano, national business unit head of Max’s Restaurant, said in a press release.

“It’s [an] execution of how we are able to present Max’s as a brand that is relevant to the community it’s in,” he added.

With this new concept of combining family dining with a casual bar setup, the company has hinted that if it goes well, it might bring the Max’s Kabisera concept to other locations.

“Previously, it was just an idea of combining the two concepts but now that it has come to life and people are actually accepting it, who knows?” Mr. Serrano told BusinessWorld.

Alternatively, Mr. Fuentebella said that if Kabisera’s menu of street food and other local dishes (“with a twist,” said the release) proves to be successful, he might introduce the same items in other Max’s brands.

Mr. Serrano said that in the near-term, the group plans to focus on expanding the franchise network in order to open more stores. As of the second quarter, 32% of the brand’s branches are franchise-owned, something they hope to increase “if their (franchisees’) appetite is as big as ours,” he said.

Max’s Kabisera is located at 7th Ave., Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. — Zsarlene B. Chua