It all began in 1968 in the city of Gällivare, when 19-year-old Curt Bergfors and his girlfriend Britta started a grill kiosk modelled after American fast food outlets.
Two years later, they opened a second kiosk in the city of Skellefteå and the following year a third in Luleå. It was named Max, after the owner’s nickname.
This was the start of what today is one of Sweden’s largest companies with some 90 restaurants all over the country, over 3,000 employees and a turnover of SEK 1.7 billion. The Bergfors family still owns the company to this day. Company headquarters remain in Luleå, from where most of the business is managed.
Max is a success story that is about the importance of being first and innovative. The chain expanded along the Norrland coast and headed southward where Max met McDonald’s on their way north. The battle ended with Max beating out the competition and taking over their premises in Luleå and Umeå. It was the first time in world history that McDonald’s gave up competition with a local fast food chain.
But Max was not satisfied with only the Northern part of Sweden. As early as 1982 they opened the first restaurant in Stockholm, on Drottninggatan, on three floors. In the 90’s Max continued the march south by opening in the cities of Gävle, Solna, Eskilstuna, Södertälje, Visby, Linköping and Jönköping. The momentum continued to build and Max took over more competitors in Uppsala and Örebro. At the turn of the millennium Max was a nationwide chain of about 30 restaurants from Gällivare in the north to Lund in the south.
Meanwhile, with the expansion there has been constant focus on product development to offer customers new, unique flavours and menus. The annual ranking of Swedish hamburger restaurants has Max on top for the twelfth consecutive year. The survey is one of the reasons that Max lays claim to serving “Sweden’s best hamburger”.
In 2002, the new generation of the Bergfors family took over operational responsibility and continued the innovative course by considering more health aspects of the business. Max took the criticism of high fat fast food seriously, and soon introduced Delifresh, healthy choice meals and new salads, to the menu.
Two years ago the company opened the first restaurant outside of Sweden, at Karl Johans Gate in Oslo, and that has been followed by two more outlets in Norway. In March they opened the first restaurant in Denmark, on Strøget in Copenhagen, and it will be followed by more. Recently Max said that they are now also available in Dubai. The number of Max restaurants in Sweden currently stands at 93. To date there are 101 Max restaurants in Sweden, and 50 more are planned.