Bargain burger chain bites designer revamp

Bargain burger chain bites designer revamp
A Max restaurant in Skellefteå in northern Sweden. Photo: TT
Swedish fast food chain Max is linking up with one of the country's leading architectural firms as part of a mission to improve customer experience. But how much do cheap burger seekers care about interior design?
Max is Sweden's oldest burger restaurant chain, launching in the Nordic nation in 1968, before both McDonalds and Burger King.
But the company's admitted its fast-food outlets haven't kept pace with the times and it's drafted in Wingårds, a leading Swedish architecture firm, to help revamp its 100 restaurants across Sweden.
The designers are best known for projects such as the Liljevalchs art gallery in Stockholm and Sweden's National Museum as well a new visitor centre at Sjöfallets nationalpark.
Architects at Wingårds says they don't expect Max to become instantly more “high brow”, but that they are discussing a wide range of options with the food firm.
“We are just in the beginning in terms of investigating opportunities,” architect Leila Atlassi told The Local.
“Max have asked us to create a new concept for both the interior and exterior of their restaurants – the facade, the layout…they have very high customer satisfaction regarding their food and want the dining experience concept to match, because they feel that is lacking right now,” she added.
“We work with a broad range of long term clients, not just the boutique projects like the museum that people will have heard of,” she explained, adding that she expected to be eating a lot of the company's fast food during the project.
“Of course – that's for sure!”
Meanwhile Max's president, Richard Bergfors, has said he is convinced that customers seeking a budget meal will be impressed by the upcoming changes.
“Wingårds…have an experienced team with broad expertise. Now we will jointly work out a concept that matches what Max stands for: simplicity for the guest, a love of good food, responsibility and sustainability. Our goal is to become a leader in the design of the fast food industry,” he said in a press release this week.
Global burger chains across Europe and the US are currently coming up against competition from rising numbers of fast food trucks and the resurgence of US diner-style gastro burger companies such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Byron. In Sweden, independent burger firms include Flippin' Burgers, Marie Laveau, The Barn and Bistro Bon.