The country’s leading casual dining chain operator Max’s Group Inc. (MGI) has temporarily shut down all restaurant operations in the Philippines, citing the need to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Although MGI’s food retailing operations were still available on a limited basis, specifically for delivery and take-away options in the first two weeks that Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon had been locked down, MGI decided to suspend operations nationwide starting Thursday, March 26.

The suspension will take effect until the end of the enhanced community quarantine on April 14, MGI investor relations and compliance manager Miren Cueto said on Friday.

“At present, the current environment requires us to do our part in flattening the curve and helping the country to reduce the risk of this virus spreading further,” Cueto replied when asked about the rationale for the suspension.

This suggests that while private establishments catering to basic necessities like food are allowed to operate via delivery and takeaway options, MGI has chosen to close its doors for awhile to prevent its employees and distributors from being infected and causing infection.

MGI has not encountered raw material supply bottlenecks, Cueto said. “But there have been challenges because of the limitations of the quarantine with respect to manpower,” she added.

Cueto said all of MGI’s international stores would continue to operate within their respective local guidelines.

MGI has more than 70 overseas stores and 690 Philippine stores as of end-2019, bringing the total network to 760.

Apart from its flagship Max’s Restaurant, MGI’s family of brands include Pancake House, Yellow Cab Pizza, Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, Max’s Corner Bakery, Teriyaki Boy, Dencio’s, Sizzlin’ Steak, Maple, Kabisera, Le Coeur De France and Singkit.

Prior to the system-wide shutdown, a significant number of MGI’s stores located within the National Capital Region (NCR), particularly in malls, had either been closed or maintained only delivery or take-away capabilities.

For the month-long quarantine, MGI guaranteed pay for all employees, including those contracted through agencies.—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla


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