Max Brenner: Innovating the Chocolate Experience

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Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Sam Borgese, CEO of Max Brenner, discusses how the company has curated a chocolate culture with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television's "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Brenner, it is a combination of the names of the founders.

It started in israel in 1996 and is currently owned by the strauss group.

We have about 50 locations globally, 40 of them are chocolate bars and 10 of them are chocolate bar restaurants.

Hatted you become attracted to max brenner?

You have all your hair.

Max brenner is supposed to be the bald guy that does chocolate.

But i was looking to develop my skills and apply them to a creative brand.

This was a brand that really attracted me.

I like working with the strauss group.

They are a great group of executives that manage and organize the parent company.

How do you describe a chocolate bar, and i don't mean the kind that you'd eat?

What makes a chocolate bar in actual bar, a destination?

It is literally of our -- literally a bar.

We have a mixture of milkshakes and chocolate bar.

You can sit there and watch all those things be created, and it's really a lot of fun.

Who names all these things?

You have chocolate syringes, chocolate pizza.

We have a very creative group of people at max brenner.

We have one person, our creative director, a very sharp person within the chocolate industry.

Do you get to taste everything before it is produced to the public?

Every single item.

Some days it is tough when you are doing it two or three times.

Have you ever turn something down?

Yes, i have.

There were couple of dishes where i thought the combination of items, the flavor profile was just not something our customers would get today.

We put it in our recipe box and keep it and you may see it two years from now.

What about expansion plans?

I think you are on target to do boston.

We are in boston, philadelphia, new york, bethesda, maryland.

We just opened in japan, very successfully in tokyo.

We will be opening in moscow in march and here in the new york area we will open garden state plasma probably the -- gordon state plasma.

Were some of the top sellers?

The chocolate pizza.

Is it because of the name, or they are just surprised when they get it?

They are not surprised.

It's pretty obvious you're getting marshmallows and chocolate on top of dough.

People tend to gravitate to it a lot.

How do you deal with the competition?

Is it having those retail locations?

It is a combination of the indulgence we want people to experience.

We want you to engage in a different way than just picking it out of a glass box.

The pact -- packaging is also key.

That has been the driver of many different brands.

How did you come up with the packaging?

Again, we have a creative group in israel that does most of our graphics.

It is a mixture of how we feel about the chocolate, how we feel about the industry and the consumer.

Put all that together in a colorful package and that works for us.

What happened to the bald man?

It is still our logo.

The original founder, we kept that logo.

Next in each ends that max brenner is going to be using online opportunities -- any chance max brenner will be using online opportunities?

We will have a more functional site in january.

We are getting a lot of traffic in that area.

How about sourcing the actual cocoa, the ingredients?

We have farms in the western african region.

We have our finished products factory in israel.

You mentioned having african sourced cocoa.

How important is it to be able to trace the working conditions and the conditions on those plantations for the end customer?

It is very important.

We participate in a program with one of our vendors that is really about fair trade in the certifications necessary to make sure those conditions don't exist for chocolate producers used for max brenner.

What about the actual cost versus what ends up showing up for the consumer?

If you're looking at the farm price, you are seeing a bit of a jump in cocoa prices.

Most of that is about a three percent industry demand worldwide.

We try to maintain our prices for consumers despite that rise.

Is there a lot of chocolate

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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