Mt. Pinatubo erupted nearly three decades ago, devastating nearby towns and provinces. Pampanga was especially hit with ashfall and lahar flow from the explosion which destroyed countless homes and businesses. But determination and hope led to opportunities and inspired residents to be part of the rehabilitation of the province.
Mrs. Tess Laus of San Fernando, Pampanga is one of the residents who felt a sense of responsibility to help the community bounce back from tragedy by putting up a business. This decision came at an opportune time as Mrs. Laus’ husband, Levy, met with the father of Robert F. Trota, President and CEO of Max’s Group, Inc. (MGI), to discuss the company’s plans to expand through franchising. It was an easy decision for the couple as they dreamed of becoming part of Pampanga’s rehabilitation, and it was especially easier for Mrs Laus as she was already a fan of the restaurant ever since she was young.
“My family used to go to the Max’s Restaurant branch in Scout Tuason in Quezon City. Whenever we would say, “fried chicken,” we were always referring to Max’s. It was really ‘Sarap-To-The-Bones,” she recalls.
The Lauses went on to become one of the brand’s first provincial franchisees, with their first store opening in September 2000 at Villa del Sol, which happened to be where the original Max’s provincial branch stood prior to its destruction by lahar.
“When Robert’s father said that they were opening Max’s to franchising, we jumped on the opportunity. The first location we had in mind was the old Villa del Sol branch in San Fernando and it took us about two months to rehabilitate the store since it was destroyed by lahar,” Mrs. Laus shares. “My husband believed that Pampanga had a good potential for development, and for us, having our branch in the exact location where the old Max’s stood was a symbol that we can rise again from what happened with Pinatubo.”
The couple quickly learned more about the culture of the company. They truly appreciated how Max’s and MGI always place tremendous importance on quality assurance for both the food and service, and the commitment they have to ensuring franchisees did the same. As entrepreneurs in the challenging environment of Pampanga, Mrs. Laus said this helped them provide customers with a comfortable and positive experience while enjoying their meal in Max’s.
The partnership flourished as MGI continued to work with the Lauses to make sure that customer satisfaction is prioritized, the highest standards of product and service quality are maintained, and franchisor-franchisee relationship is strengthened. She notes that Mr. Trota is always accommodating and supportive of their operations in Pampanga, and the consistent communication between the partners helped the Lauses grow their businesses. This confidence in the relationship prompted Mrs. Laus to open three more Max’s branches: one in Cabanatuan, another in Clark, and one more branch in San Fernando, this time in SM City Pampanga.
When MGI expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of the Pancake House Group, this trust was manifested even more as the Lauses didn’t hesitate to get new franchises from the other MGI brands. In fact, within the nine months from October 2017 to June 2018, Mrs. Tess Laus and her husband opened two branches of Pancake House, and one each of Dencio’s and Yellow Cab Pizza.
“We never thought of any other brand because we trust them, which for us was the most important aspect of the partnership. We know they’ll support us whenever and wherever we need them, and this is a value that we also share with our customers,” ends Mrs. Laus.
This year, MGI is focusing on a franchising-led business model to drive expansion and improve accessibility. By franchising its core brands with partners such as the Lauses, the move will leverage on Max’s Group’s brand equity, operational expertise, and scale to propel store network expansion and bring its loved brands closer to more customers.
For more information on franchising Max’s Group brands, email [email protected] or visit www.maxsgroupinc.com