3 Lessons For Family-Owned Businesses From Max’s Group Chair Sharon Fuentebella

The first Max’s Restaurant opened in 1945 in Quezon City to serve American soldiers after the war. It was first founded by Ruby Trota and her uncle, Maximo Gimenez.

Image by My Story, My SM

Since then, Max’s has grown from being a family-owned restaurant to a huge conglomerate marketing international franchises including Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, and more.

Ruby Trota’s granddaughter and Max’s Group chairperson Sharon Fuentebella shared with Esquire some tips to consider when running a family-owned business.

1. Family harmony is vital

Keeping a harmonious family relationship is important when running a family business.

She said it’s important that the family members share a common goal and vision.

She said, “All the families were always talking to each other. It is always a goal for us to be able to see where we can take the opportunity to grow the business. Collectively as a family, we help each other to come up with ways to address that opportunity.”

2. Spend family time together

To keep the harmony going, it’s best to make it a priority to spend time together.

She explained that despite a hectic work environment, they make a point to see each other during important occasions.

More than just talking about business, it helped them forge a good relationship among their families.

She said, “I think what was important aside from the business is we have activities on our own where we really spend time with each other. Whether we meet for birthdays or holidays or vacations, those activities really helped.”

3. Grow by focusing on the brand heritage

Image by Max’s via Facebook

In 1995, Max’s celebrated its 50th anniversary with 38 branches. The cousins agreed to open the restaurant for franchising to help it expand and grow. In 2021, Max’s Restaurant had a total of 222 outlets nationwide.

“We had to come up with one system for the franchisee where everything is standardized. We needed to come up with a model that we could replicate from and be able to take that model into different markets nationwide and internationally,” she explained.

There are advantages and disadvantages of owning a family business. Among the business ideas you can start with your family are buy and sell, as well as food retail.

Sally Mae
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