(SPOT.ph) Did you know that Max's Restaurant started as a café that served chicken, steak, and drinks? Nowadays, Max's is what people go to for no-frills, no-fuss, tried and tested Filipino food—i.e. their signature "Sarap to the Bones" Fried Chicken, Sizzling Tofu, Caramel Bars, and, yes, their breakfast food fare. What's missing in the whole Max's breakfast and merienda experience is the coffee, Max's Restaurant isn't exactly top of mind for coffee runs, as opposed to if one was looking for fried chicken or tofu-based sisig.
In such a busy neighborhood as Taguig City where options for cups of joe come at a dime a dozen, how can Max's Restaurant compete and make a name for itself? Paolo Salud, Max's Group's 4th Generation Marketing Officer, had the spur-of-a-moment idea to add a coffee nook while they were in the process of renovating Max's Restaurant at Forbestown Road, and the plans came to fruition with the help of third-wave coffee shop Yardstick Coffee.
Check out Max's Restaurant's coffee collaboration with Yardstick Coffee:
One of the bigger hurdles Max's Restaurant had if they wanted to enter the coffee scene is their credibility for coffee—or lack thereof. From "The House That Fried Chicken Built," is there really space in the house for a Rocket Espresso coffee machine too?
Paolo had the idea of contacting Kevin Tang, one of the owners of Yardstick Coffee, which is one of the first few third-wave cafés in the country before the coffee movement became this huge. And it all started with an exchange, "Would you be open to having a meeting on working with us at Max's?"
The Max's and the Yardstick team met up in a commissary in San Juan and, over sips of espresso, they planned out how both teams can collaborate with each other. After much discussion, they landed on the idea of starting a three-week pop-up at Max's Restaurant Forbestown. In the span of 21 days, Yardstick baristas were working at Max's to serve coffee through their coffee nook, and at the same time train Max's employees on how to calibrate the machines and pull espresso shots.
"For Max's, basically, we get the beans from them [Yardstick] and the training from them [Yardsitck], because we did not want customers to think that Max's brews their own coffee. We wanted to make sure that we have a reliable, credible source which was Yardstick," Paolo shares with SPOT.ph.
The Max's Restaurant and Yardstick Coffee collaboration was originally intended to be a pop-up, from April 12 until May 3. Because of its success and potential, they then decided to buy the machines and beans from Yardstick and made it a permanent accessory to this branch of Max's Restaurant.
"Yardstick has never done this [partnership]. We made this program from scratch and it worked out so well. Now, this Max's x Yardstick is perpetually [available] and it is no longer a pop-up," Paolo says.
What's on the Max's Restaurant x Yardstick Coffee menu?
Yardstick and Max's Restaurant created a specific coffee blend that is indefinitely labeled as "Max's Blend A" for now. This coffee blend is specifically available to Max's Restaurant Forbestown and Yardstick sources and roasts it.
The "Max's Blend A" is made with 100% Arabica beans, half of which is from Atok, Benguet, and the other half from Brazil, Mogiana. Paolo says that they had to do a couple of taste tests before finally getting what they wanted, and they did, it resulted in a blend that brews coffee with roasted almond and dark chocolate notes.
They're not selling the beans as of writing, but they are looking into eventually selling them in smaller bags. This will be useful for those who want the same coffee quality but brewed in the comforts of their own home.
Here are the coffee beverages available at Max's Restaurant Forbestown:
- Americano: P199/hot, P139/iced
- Latte: P119 hot, P139 iced
- Cappuccino: P199/hot, P139/iced
- Spanish Latte: P139/hot, P159 iced
- Mocha: P149/hot, PP169/iced
- Double Espresso: P119
- Switch to oat milk: +P39
The menu was curated with the intent of covering the basics and making the patrons less intimidated by the coffee options. "I definitely wanted the price point and the offerings to be basic first because Max's market isn't exactly the third-wave coffee market," Paolo says. Hence the absence of other coffee drinks such as a cortado, ristretto, and flat white.
The only exception to the basic coffee menu is the Spanish Latte. Paolo observed that this sweetened latte currently has a huge following, be it in smaller or bigger establishments. "What if that's what the Max's market wanted?" he trusted his gut and added it to the menu and with no surprise, it's their current bestseller.
If sweet and creamy coffee isn't your cup of tea—or joe, in this case—Paolo is confident in their capabilities that coffee connoisseurs will be delighted with an order of Double Espresso. While for the hungry morning crowds, a complimentary hot or iced Americano is served for those who order breakfast meals.
For those who don't live, don't work, and don't frequent the Forbestown area and want to try this out, we know what's on your mind. "Are they planning on expanding the Yardstick collaboration to more of Max's Restaurants across the Metro?"
The simple answer is yes, but the caveat is that it won't happen soon (enough). "[We're giving] this a couple of months at Forbestown. And then maybe from there, choose carefully in which community we will be bringing it into because there are so many Max's Restaurants in the Philippines that we want to make sure that wherever we do put it, it will make sense for that community. And we want to build around that community, not like shove this coffee into every Max's when it doesn't make sense to have it there."
It's not confirmed yet, but of course, we had to ask if there's a specific Max's Restaurant branch they're eyeing for the expansion. It was disclosed to SPOT.ph that they are eyeing their first-ever store, the Scout Tuazon branch in Quezon City.
Max's Restaurant Forbestown is at 26th St, Taguig, Metro Manila. The coffee is available throughout the whole operating hours of Max's Restaurant Forbestown, which is 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.
For more information, check out Max's Restaurant's Facebook page.