For years now, Max’s Group Inc. has consistently shown its ingenuity and resolve to be more than just a restaurant operator—even with its stature as the country’s largest casual dining group, operating such beloved brands as Max’s Restaurant, Pancake House, Yellow Cab Pizza Co., and Krispy Kreme.
In the early stages of the global health crisis, the group took the appropriate time to reflect on the changes it needed to make and quickly responded in addressing new consumer and business needs. A fitting representation of these efforts is its year-old No Bia Food Manufacturing and Distribution Center envisioned to future-proof the group’s forward ambitions.
“After squeezing three years of transformation into three quarters of business revolution, we are confident in the momentum we’ve built and are excited to see the fruits of our labor rewarded as we are primed to go beyond our anticipated renewal,” said MGI president Ariel Fermin.
Occupying almost 20,000 square meters of land, the group’s billion-peso commissary is flexible in capability and designed to handle a wide variety of affordable and premium products, with different processing requirements at a high capacity.
From meats, sauces and bakery lines, initial numbers have shown that it can manufacture up to nearly 2,000 metric tons of food each month—leapfrogging MGI’s previous levels by more than triple the scale. With this and its nationwide warehousing and distribution points, the commissary is able to support the group’s 600-plus local store network in the Philippines, as well as its growing retail and manufacturing partners that have since come into play.
As the name behind some of the most iconic restaurant brands in the Philippines, expanding its business-to-business model was a natural adjacency for MGI’s evolution and growth in a food industry that has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From having a literal zero presence at the start of last year, current and new menu items from MGI’s beloved brands are now present under the newly-launched Max’s Group Kitchen imprint in over 300 retail partner stores including both the physical and digital channels of notable players such as SM Markets, Robinsons Group, WalterMart, Shell Select, AllDay Supermarket, Puregold, Gaisano Market, Lazada, Shopee, MetroMart and GrabMart.
“More than just serving customers at our restaurants, we have now expanded our product lines to include restaurant-quality ready-to-cook meals and ready-to-eat products that are easily accessible through a phygital commerce network that has opened new doors for us. Every day, we are fueled by innovation and our new commissary plays an integral role in helping us realize our vision as an operator, manufacturer, and distributor, and merchant,” said Fermin.
“Additionally, our comprehensive food line capabilities have helped us secure contracts to supply the different baking goods, meats, and sauces of other known local brands. Now, more than ever, we’ve seen the importance and positive impact that being part of an ecosystem can do and we are proud that we’ve been able to work together with our peers from the food industry as they look to expand as well. We advocate for others to follow suit if they are serious about growing and evolving their business,” he said.
More than manufacturing existing products of partners, MGI’s new commissary also has the capability to create and develop new innovations for either house or co-branded product lines. The No Bia Food Manufacturing and Distribution Center was also built for quality with a design that is in line with the global standards established by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the US Food and Drug Administration.
Safety and multi-market inclusivity is of the utmost importance as well. The commissary has been designed to meet the highest level of safety standards and specialized certifications such as GMP Certified (Good Manufacturing Practice), HACCP (Hazard-Analysis-Critical-Control-Point), ISO Food Safety Management Safety, FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification)—even Halal certification on its bakeshop line. With this, partners are assured of continuous product quality improvement and best practices in food manufacturing.
MGI also took the sustainability factor into account when designing the new commissary. The building facade and walls were made using eco bricks that are a mixture of composite materials and various kinds of repurposed plastics.
The facility also operates on wastewater treatment technology that ensures process water is treated and made safe before disposal to the municipal sewage. Additionally, the facility also reuses rain water for various purposes, LED lighting for energy conservation, and a Variable Frequency Drive for its refrigeration system to help reduce power consumption.
“Our investments in completing our new commissary and the creation of the Max’s Group Kitchen label certainly answer our immediate needs today. Simultaneously, they also offer a clear path for our renewed future. Continuing to support the growth of our world-class infrastructure and expand our brand footprint are necessary steps to remain relevant for years to come,” said MGI chief executive Robert Trota.