Max Brenner

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Max Brenner
Industry Food and beverage
Founded Ra'anana, Israel (1996 (1996))
Founder(s) Max Fichtman
Oded Brenner
Headquarters Ra'anana, Israel
Number of locations 49
Area served Worldwide
Products Chocolate bars
Employees 1,100+
Parent Strauss Group

Max Brenner is an Israeli chocolate retail store chain, operating as a subsidiary of the Strauss Group, Israel’s second-largest food and beverage company.1 Max Brenner chocolates are marketed as "Chocolate by the Bald Man"2 and the company operates a total of eight full-service restaurants, five being in Israel and one each in Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, as well as 44 chocolate bars in Australia, Japan, Singapore and Russia.345 The company is specialized in desserts such as fondue, ice cream, crepe, milkshake, waffle, and hot chocolate.6


Max Brenner was founded in 1996 in Ra'anana, Israel, by Max Fichtman and Oded Brenner who combined their names.7 The business began as a small shop selling handmade chocolates.8

Working as an apprentice in Paris in 1994, Brenner met well-known chocolatier Michel Chaudun and convinced the maestro to take him on.910 He spent the following six years learning the art of chocolate-making in Paris.

Upon his return to Israel in 1996, Brenner opened a small retail chocolate shop with a workshop in the back, and named it "Handmade Chocolate by Max Brenner",11 name derived from Oded’s last name and co-founder Max Fichtman’s first name—in Ra’anana, just outside Tel Aviv. By 1999, Fichtman and Brenner had opened ten chocolate shops.12

A chance meeting with an Israeli entrepreneur in 1999 sparked the idea of expanding his business, and the first of the Max Brenner-branded cafes opened in Australia, in Sydney's hip Paddington, in 2000.9 This newly opened “Max Brenner Chocolate Bar” was to be the centre of Max’s new chocolate culture, combining a bar and a shop. This allowed people to enjoy a “holistic” chocolate adventure, experiencing their shopping in the bar section and shopping their experience in the shop section.13

In 2001, the chain became part of the Strauss Group, Israel's second-largest food and beverage company.14 In the period from 2002 to 2005, Max Brenner opened locations in Israel, Singapore and the Philippines, while continuing to open new locations in Australia. In 2006, Max Brenner opened their first chocolate bar in the United States in New York City.

In 2010, a new Max Brenner restaurant and chocolate store opened in the U.S. at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas,15 followed by another store opening in Boston and Philadelphia during the next year, offering both sweet and savory menu options.16

In June 2013, the first Max Brenner chocolate bar opened in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.17 In the same yea, the company signed franchise agreements with cororate partners in Russia and Japan. Later in December, two bars opened in Tokyo,18 while 35th Max Brenner bar was opened in Australia. In March 2014, the company entered to the Russian market by opening the store in Zvetnoy Boulevard in Moscow,19 New Jersey, and St. Petersburg.

According to the founders of Max Brenner, "chocolate is not just about taste. It’s a symbol of different aspects in our lives - of romance, of sensuality, of decadence. These aspects actually create the new chocolate culture of Max Brenner."20 Max Brenner chocolates are certified kosher by the Nazareth Rabbinate.21

Chocolate menu

Max Brenner cappuccino

Max Brenner restaurants offer a large selection of chocolate-based dishes, including chocolate waffles and crepes, fondues, ice creams, hot chocolate drinks, smoothies and chocolate martinis.22 Max Brenner's chocolate pizza was featured in a February 2011 segment of Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate/Pizza.23 The restaurant takes a "whimsical" approach to food, with menus divided into sections such as “For Dipping,” “For Your Hands,” and “With Knife and Fork.”24

In February 2014, Max Brenner store in Bethesda introduced pastry program with new items including a chocolate babka, a chocolate chunk scone, a banana whiskey torte and an assortment cookies and brownies.


Due to Strauss Group's sponsorship of the Golani reconnaissance platoon25 Max Brenner stores have been a target of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Boycotts in Australia

In 2011, pro-Palestinian activist group Students for Palestine organized a series of protests outside Max Brenner outlets in Australia. The protest in Melbourne led to 19 arrests.262728

The protests have drawn condemnation from Australian Foreign Minister and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who remarked “I don't think in 21st-century Australia there is a place for the attempted boycott of a Jewish business.”29 In September 2011, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that "the protesters had not broken federal competition law because the protests did not cause substantial loss or damage to the Max Brenner chocolate stores."30 Some pro-Palestinian organizations including Australians for Palestine have distanced themselves from the protests but have publicly defended the choice of Max Brenner as a boycott target.313233 In October 2011, Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia said that he is against the "full-scale" BDS campaign, and in particular expressed his anger over the occasionally violent protests at the Max Brenner stores, saying, "BDS is a non-violent process and I don't think it's the right of anybody to use BDS as a violent action or to prevent people from buying from any place."34

Protest organizers consistently denied that the protests were violent, and instead accused the police of acting with brutality.35

Julia Gillard denounced the planned protest against the Max Brenner shop on the Kensington campus of University of New South Wales, accusing the organizers of engaging in an ugly attempt to spread anti-Semitism and Holocaust-denial.36 In a survey conducted by the university to ascertain which new stores students and faculty wanted on campus, a Max Brenner chocolate shop was the second most popular choice.37

Max Brenner Australia spokespersons stated that the sole shareholders of the franchise operation in Australia are a young Australian couple who have no direct connection to the Strauss Group. The franchise employs over 1,100 Australian residents across 4 states.38

In May 2013, the Australian national newspaper reported on a YouTube video segment that featured an interview with Australian BDS supporter Patrick Harrison, who is also a spokesperson for the Palestine Action Group. Harrison stated in the interview: ".. financially speaking there isn't really any connection between this Max Brenner store in particular and Israel," referring to the BDS movement's protests against the Max Brenner store in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Paramatta, but further explained that the retail outlet has become a "cultural ambassador for Israel". Harrison then clarified that the "cultural ambassador" notion was based upon the manner in which Zionist supporters had maintained a presence at the chocolate stores to show their firm opposition to the movement that Harrison is a member of.3940


See also


  1. ^ "Strauss Group". 2010. Retrieved 2011-08-11. dead link
  2. ^ Bruni, Frank (2 May 2007). "You Can Almost Eat the Dishes". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Thorn, Bret (7 April 2014). "Max Brenner moves toward fast-casual format". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Max Brenner: Branches". Retrieved 19 February 2009. 
  5. ^ Broadway, Donna (25 July 2013). "Chocolate lovers now have a new local heaven". The Sentiel. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Ramanathan, Lavanya (31 July 2013). "Max Brenner Chocolate Bar opens in Bethesda, serving all chocolate everything". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Milking It
  8. ^ Chocolate pinnacle: Max Brenner's new place takes the treat to a new tier
  9. ^ a b "Life is sweet for chocolate master". The Age (Melbourne). 
  10. ^ The Jewish Chronicle - Max Brenner brings Israeli ingenuity to an international passion
  11. ^ Max Brenner
  12. ^ Trinity Completes Construction of Chocolate-Themed Restaurant
  13. ^ About Us - Max Brenner
  14. ^ Targeted chocolatier Max Brenner 'a man of peace'
  15. ^ "Max Brenner to open large new Las Vegas store". Yedioth Ahronoth. Retrieved 201-10-26. 
  16. ^ "Company Overview of Max Brenner International Inc.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  17. ^ Lavanya Ramanathan (24 April 2013). "Max Brenner Chocolate Bar brings all-day dessert to Bethesda". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  18. ^ "Max Brenner Chocolate Bars; EU Gateway Program". Japan Times. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  19. ^ Pacyniak, Bernie (26 March 2014). "Welcome to Russia Max Brenner!". Candy Industry. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  20. ^ Life is Sweet at Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man
  21. ^ Questions about kosher chocolate
  22. ^ Max Brenner International Inc., Bloomberg Business Week
  23. ^ Food Network
  24. ^ Lunch, Anyone? Max Brenner, Go for the chocolate, stay for the food
  25. ^ Friedman, Ron (14 December 2010). "Strauss reposts IDF-support commitment on website". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  26. ^ "New information fact sheet about the Max Brenner campaign". Fact Sheets. Students for Palestine. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  27. ^ McGregor, Ken (22 August 2011). "Boycott boiling point". Adelaide Advertiser. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  28. ^ Brull, Michael. "The campaign against the Max Brenner protesters". The Drum. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  29. ^ "Australian lawmakers support Israeli business". JTA. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  30. ^ Max Brenner demonstrators did not break law, Aussie panel finds
  31. ^ Flitton, Daniel (11 July 2011). "Citizen Rudd's sweet support for cafe". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  32. ^ Sabawi, Samah (16 August 2011). "Murdoch Press and the Fictional Jewish Chocolatier". The Palestine Chronicle. Retrieved 12 September 2011. 
  33. ^ "Press Council adjudication No 1513". The Australian. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  34. ^ Palestinian consul rejects BDS violence
  35. ^
  36. ^ Julia Gillard denounces activists as anti-Israel protest turns anti-Semitic
  37. ^ The ugly face of student activism
  38. ^ Anti-Israel rally draws small crowd at UNSW Max Brenner protest
  39. ^ Christian Kerr (2 May 2013). "Protests lack link to Israel: BDS fan". The Australian. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  40. ^ varietygarage (2 March 2013). "VG: Chocolate Wars; Protest For Palestine (Max Brenner, Sydney 2012)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 

External links

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