Max Brenner rises from meltdown with two new stores
LITTLE more than a year after Max Brenner Chocolate Bar went into financial meltdown, its set to open two new Brisbane stores before Christmas.
Now owned by property developer and AFR rich-lister Arnold Vitocco, Brisbane's chocoholics will soon be able to get their sugar hits at Hyperdome Shopping Centre, Loganholme and Toombul Shopping.
The Hyperdome location will open next Friday while Toombul will come online closer to Christmas, says Max Brenner Chocolate Bar's commercial director Jung Shin.
The new outlets will bring the number of Max Brenner stores to 21 nationwide including eight in Queensland.
Ms Shin said they were looking to open about half a dozen new locations in 2020.
"We won't be too aggressive but we are in a good space for growth and we are looking at five to seven new sites by the end of 2020," Ms Shin said.
"Since the new ownership, it would be the biggest growth (in one year) and that has a lot do with the people behind the brand."
The re-emergence of Max Brenner Chocolate Bar comes some 13 months after the majority of the Australian stores closed their doors.
Ms Shin said every indication suggests the Hyperdome location will be a winner.
"Since the hoarding has gone up in the shopping centre, there has been a lot of hype which makes us very confident it's a great location," she said.
"It's a precinct that they're revitalising and so it's good timing to continue our journey on back.
"We're very confident it will do well."
Hyperdome and Toombul are two new locations for the brand while there appears little chance fallen Brisbane and Gold Coast stores will be resurrected.
The brand is focusing on high traffic areas, such as major shopping centres, than reigniting stand alone stores, Ms Shins said.
Before the chain went into administration last year, some of the previous southeast Queensland sites were at Portside Wharf, Newstead and The Strand, Coolangatta.
The Portside Wharf site still contains all the original furniture and the interior is untouched, but Ms Shin said they were not looking to reignite the cafe.
"As we continue to stabilise the business, we may look at the previous bars that we were active in, but at the moment that is not one (Portside Wharf) we are actively pursuing," she said.
"High traffic environment is the key focus."
She said there have been subtle changes to their infantry while they released a new menu in April.
The offerings include a 'sharing is caring' section that contained a chocolate fondue for two and a sharing platter.
"We have had a national roll out of our new menu and is heavily focused about people sharing the experience," she said.
To celebrate the opening of the Hyperdome store will smash a 100kg chocolate bar into pieces at 2pm next Friday to share with shoppers.