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Max Brenner targets local market with raft of openings

MaxBrennerChocolateBarGlobal dessert chain Max Brenner has set its sights on local expansion, announcing a raft of new locations amid the proliferation of sweeter options in the Australian market.

The dessert chain hopes to open six to seven stores this year while regional New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania are areas of interest for the retailer.

“We are interested in areas of Australia where people may have never heard about the brand and we’re also looking at new market entry in the APAC region as well,” said Max Brenner’s commercial director, Jung H. Shin.

Tamir and Lilly Haikin independently own the Australian franchise rights to Max Brenner in Australia and brought it to the shores in 2000. The duo have grown the network to 40 in Australia and are now actively looking to grow their model.

“While we are actively exploring how best to enable our growth, we’re cautious about jumping into a traditional model of franchising for the sake of expediting expansion,” revealed Shin.

“We want to grow with purpose. We want to be smart, sustainable and supportive, whether that be partnering with other complementary retail brands or inviting astute owner-operators for unique joint venture partnerships, we are reviewing various avenues.”

Max Brenner recently opened a store at Australia Fair in Southport on the gold Gold Coast before Christmas. The opening follows the recent completion of stage one of the shopping centre’s $25 million redevelopment project.

With dessert innovation being a major focus, Shin says that while being on-trend is important, she is wary not to innovate or change Max Brenner’s menu for the sake of it.

Innovation is definitely key in keeping the brand conversation alive in various platforms. Innovation has played a key role in keeping us relevant,” she said.

The chocolate giant has seen success with its dessert pizzas and will be expanding their range of flavours in the next few weeks.

Last year, in order to celebrate World Chocolate Day, Max Brenner invited customers to come in and bring items of choice to be covered in chocolate.

“That was a very, very sensory experience where people were lining up out the door. Seeing people’s excitement in their eyes was really something,” recalled Shin. “That sort of experiential engagement is how we also keep the conversation alive.”

Shin says the brand’s success really lies in the fact that it is nimble and quick to pivot in the face of change.

“We’re not precious about understanding where our shortcomings might be. That way, we know how to improve quickly,” she explained. “[It’s important] to be quite critical of where things might not have always gone right and looking at how we can better evolve. We need to stay relevant and in order to do that, we need to keep innovating.”

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