Full Stomachs, Smiling Faces with Maxi’s

Full Stomachs, Smiling Faces with Maxi’s


The allure of the brand

Taste Holdings (which owns the Maxi’s brand) is a great organisation to be a part of. I’ve been in retail for close to 20 years, and I’ve been a part of other franchises, but Taste is unique. As a franchisee, you’re often nothing more than a number to head office. Not with Taste Holdings. The company knows and cares about the franchisees. Open communication is encouraged. You can pick up the phone and easily speak with someone in charge.”

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Why a franchise is crucial

“There is an awful lot of competition in the restaurant space. In my opinion, setting up an independent operation isn’t even an option. Customers like the predictability and consistency of a franchise. So, if you want to open a restaurant, it needs to be a franchise.”

In-store training


“Taste Holdings expects new franchisees to work in an existing store for three weeks, and I can understand why: It gives you great insight into what it actually takes to own and operate a Maxi’s. You learn the ins and outs of the operation. This way, you don’t go into things blindly. You know what to expect.”

The right personality

“You need the right personality to own and operate a restaurant. You need to be front-of-house. You can’t hide away in the office all day. You need to enjoy speaking to people. If you like interacting with people, there is no greater business to run than a restaurant. You’re dealing with so many personalities, which can be challenging but also very fulfilling.

“I make it a point to remember the names of as many of our regular customers as possible, and I encourage my staff to do the same. There is nothing better than knowing exactly what a customer will order and have it waiting for them before they even reach a table.

“It is an industry that really gets into your blood. A happy customer can provide you with an immense amount of satisfaction.”

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Expecting the unexpected


“You might think that working in the same restaurant every day can be boring, but the truth is, every day is different. A group of 30 people might walk through your door, or a company could order 40 hamburgers. You’ll be amazed by the interesting scenarios that crop up. No two days are ever the same.”

Hiring the right staff

“Prospective franchisees often underestimate the people management component of owning a business. Owning a restaurant, for instance, means managing around 20 people daily. It can be very difficult if you don’t have the right people.

“People who work in a restaurant are often young. I like to hire staff who are studying towards something. One of my permanent waitresses is in her third year of attaining an engineering degree, for example. If you hire people who are bettering themselves, you won’t retain them forever, but that’s okay. You want employees who are ambitious and driven.”

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Ordering the easy way

“An awesome part of the Taste Holdings model is that the company supplies about 95% of the products and supplies needed. So, instead of dealing with a dozen suppliers, you’re dealing with one. Moreover, the size of the company allows franchisees access to great prices. A sizable operation like Taste has much more buying power than a small independent restaurant.”

GG van Rooyen
GG van Rooyen is the deputy editor for Entrepreneur Magazine South Africa. Follow him on Twitter.