Matthias opened his first restaurant, Max à Table, on 30 April of this year in the Chartrons district of Bordeaux. What sets his restaurant apart is the innovative use of tables with touch screens.
Matthias, everyone, is talking about your new concept and you've had good media coverage. Where did you get the idea for Max à Table, the first connected "fast good"?
Even when I was a student at Vatel, I had this desire to create a restaurant. After several ideas that I couldn't get off the ground – because my competitive edge was not great enough – I finally came up with a winner! Max à Table reflects what today's consumers are looking for: fresh ingredients, tasty food, a relatively low price, good service, and a multitude of extras thanks to new technologies. In fact, our clients are quite curious about our interactive tables, and enjoy them immensely!
I studied at Vatel Bordeaux for three years and thought that the Chartrons district where Vatel is located would be the perfect place to test the Max à Table concept. That's because there are some 7,000 students in private business schools in the Chartrons, as well as many people who come there to work – most of whom hold management positions – and people who live there, and who very open to new food and technological trends.
In fact, I've been wanting to create a new concept in the restaurant business for years. I have travelled a fair amount and attended conferences in Paris, including one by Marcel Saucet (Doctor of Innovation) that particularly inspired me. When I came out of his talk, I really wanted to create something original that would combine new technologies and the restaurant business. That is how the idea of tables with touch screens came to me. I asked around, and eventually contacted the firm of Digital Interactive who supplied the equipment.
Could you please describe these tables?
Every "Max’ Adepte" can visualise the products and their descriptions, and order directly from their table. The client can see the menu, choose what he wants to eat and drink, pay, and also see what's happening in the kitchen on his interactive table. The table also has games and quizzes enabling customers to relax while they're waiting for their order, or even to take advantage of special reductions. In addition, you can even discover events happening in Bordeaux, read the newspaper, or even take a virtual trip around the world...
Why did you choose the name Max à Table?
Well, to start off with, the basic concept is "fast good", which is to say French-style fast food that is more tasty, better- balanced, and more imaginative – in keeping with what today's French consumers are looking for.
As for the name, Max is short for Maximum: maximum taste, maximum freshness, and maximum comfort – not forgetting our little character MAX! Consumers always want more, and I knew that when I created something in this sector, I would achieve excellence. Not that Max à Table is better than all of our competitors, but it is clearly among the best in terms of value for money.
What sort of food do you offer?
We serve "Hambourgeois" (hamburgers) and large salads. Everything is fresh and homemade. We want to go along with the current food trends, and change as they do. For the time being, the menu is fixed, by our aim down the road is to offer the "hambourgeois of the day", "seasonal salads", and "dessert of the day". Our restaurant is sponsored by Michel Roth, who is in charge of the kitchens at the Ritz. We are going to see if we can establish a mutually beneficial partnership. We could even offer a "hambourgeois de Michel" as dish of the day...
Did you encounter any major difficulties in opening your restaurant ?
The main complication was with the banks – even though I was able to put up 50% of the capital. It seems as though it is very difficult to innovate and be entrepreneurial nowadays... The banks don't want to take any risks. Other than that, except for a few details, we have not run into any major difficulties.
Why did you decide to study at Vatel, and why Vatel Bordeaux?
I found out about Vatel on the Net, and it seemed like a really good option after my baccalaureate degree.
Why Bordeaux? Simply because I have family there.Vatel opened up my mind and gave me a much better handle on my career. It also let me take on responsibilities at an early age. During my years at Vatel, I especially remember my internships at a hotel in Reunion belonging to the Naïade group, where I created the job of management auditor. Now if that isn't taking on responsiblity! Apparently they still take on trainees from Vatel Bordeaux…
After meeting students from Vatel Nîmes, Lyon, and Paris, I realised that Vatel Bordeaux was truly made for me. The school leaves lots of room for personal development. Nothing makes us focus on any particular facet of the hospitality industry. It's up to us to decide. Vatel Bordeaux provides tailor-made training!
How did your studies at Vatel (theoretical, practical, internship) help you to crystallise your restaurant concept?
Vatel taught me a great deal. I have worked in a variety of restaurants (a luxury establishment, a brasserie, a semi-gastronomic restaurant, and even a fast food place) in several countries (France, Ireland, Malta, Reunion, London, New Zealand, etc.) and held down various jobs: waiter, head waiter, assistant manager, management accountant, operations management controller, and strategic management controller. Combining theory and practice enabled me to acquire the sort of foundation I needed, and it was precious to meet and learn from professionals in the restaurant sector.
How did you make a name for yourself?
It really wasn't hard to make Max à Table well-known! Above and beyond all the work done in conjunction with my communication agency, the local media were very interested in my story!
How do see Max à Table's future? Are you intending to open up branches in other cities?
Yes, I would like to open up restaurants in the largest French cities. People wanting to open a franchise have already contacted me. But before going that route, it is important to have a better idea of Max à Table's target audience, cost structure, and potential turnover at the end of the first year. Franchisees need to be reassured and helped to have a strategic mid to long-term vision of the brand.
The hospitality and tourism industry puts people in touch with an ever-increasing and constantly changing world, making it the only one of its kind.
Read our mission.
Serving others is a priceless quality in the hospitality industry, but not just there. Students with a degree in hotel management are attractive to employers: their qualities make them champions in all types of professions.Read more
The 26th Eurhodip conference took place in Istanbul from October 16 though 20th, with the theme “Together, let’s build bridges.” Roughly a hundred participants from 25 countries and 35 schools attended this event.Read more
With schools throughout the world, nearly four decades of development, the art of hospitality raised to its highest level... And at the heart of the curriculum that made the group’s world recognition: the professors, heralds of Vatel pedagogy.Read more
Senior F&B Instructor at Vatel Bangkok, Isabelle Ferchaud is also the Vatel application restaurant Manager.Read more
Each year our Group School directors, getting together for the Vatel International Convention, use today’s experiences to continue to invent tomorrow’s schools for our future hospitality professionals.Read more
Vatel cultivates the qualities required to be a good professional in the hospitality industry: being fluent in foreign languages, knowing how to work with other cultures... Hoteliers are attracted by Vatel students’ resumes, as Vateliens can tell us.Read more
François Perraud feels both a hotelier and a financial controller, an expertise that he likes to pass on to Vatel students.Read more
Jeremie de Fombelle has always loved resorts and has seen many of them, before coming to Mauritius. And this is where he really fell in love! But economic competition is stiff. How can you stand out, if not by the quality of your management?Read more
A professor of marketing, corporate promotion and negotiation, Sophie Lot loves adult education and teaches at Vatel Switzerland.Read more
Thanatat Boonpeng: a young Vatel graduate at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.Read more
Every day, Vatel students and instructors prepare for class, study, and fan the flames of their curiosity, thanks to the cutting-edge digital library provided by the ScholarVox platform. Come right this way for digital access to knowledge!Read more
An MBA specializing in ecotourism opens in Madagascar. This island has all it takes to materialize this demanding approach of responsible and innovative tourism.Read more
New ideas, enthusiasm, the desire to embrace a gourmet universe: Jerome Ferrer’s story has all the ingredients that inspire the best “success stories” to strategy professors!Read more
The hospitality and tourism industries are particularly concerned by sustainable development. And what if Vatel alumni played a key part in this transition towards more environmentally friendly hotel management?Read more
Travel broadens the mind, as the old saying goes. It also leads to unconventional restaurants. Let’s meet two Vateliens who founded Le Kaya Restaurant in Tignes.Read more
Besides having a Bachelor or an MBA Vatel, what does being a Vatelien mean?Read more
Throughout their entire careers, Vatel alumni remain in touch with their schools. This is also true for Kevin Tessieux, who has never forgotten that he was also once a student, and who now shares this knowledge with students today.Read more
Chahrazade Baroudi, a Vatelien since 2013, describes her job as Marketing and Communication Manager in IDAM, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant on the top floor of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art, in Qatar.Read more
Future hospitality professionals, welcome to Vatel’s 100% management simulation serious game! For an entire week and on three continents, MBA students met the challenge of managing a 4-star hotel and a resort in the Indian Ocean. The winners are...Read more
Who is Gaelle Garnier, the new manager of the network of 35,000 Vatel alumni throughout the world? Let’s meet a Vatelien who works with Vateliens!Read more
The 25th Eurhodip conference, which Vatel took part in, took place in Croatia. Targeting responsible tourism, this conference allowed participants to have more information on opening higher education courses in the field of sustainable development.Read more
Designed to address the needs of the global hospitality industry, the Marco Polo program strengthens the international profile Vatel students have and has just received the prestigious Best Innovation in an Educational Program Award.Read more
Graduated in 2011, Alexis Bouche began his career in England. Six years later, he returned to France and is now the Sales Manager of the 5-star hotel, Villa Maïa.Read more
Nearly 40 years old, and now 50 campuses in 32 different countries: Vatel Group opened its first school in Paris and is continuing to grow and duplicate its innovative educational concept in schools abroad.Read more
Trained at Vatel Nimes ten years ago, Chloe Wu has a brilliant career in China. She no longer works in the hospitality industry, but has not forgotten her passion of hospitality and service...Read more
The Vatel International Research Center in Hotel and Tourism Managementhas just published the 10th edition of its Journal, which targets research and reflections on changes taking place in the hospitality and tourism industries.Read more
Curiosity, humility, team spirit... A Vatelien shares his commitment to values his school transmitted to him.
The same international spirit that students have Vatel and 4 students in nursing undertake a humanitarian project in Madagascar.Read more
A traveler - salesman - ambassador, Marco Polo introduced Asia, at that time nearly unknown, to Europe. This inspirational fate has given its name to Vatel’s international exchange program, where students can study at another Vatel campus for a year.Read more
The most senior representatives in the international hospitality industry give Vatel the Best School Hospitality Award. An entire profession thus acclaims them.Read more
Learning the skills needed to be a manager, quick employability, international careers... Vatel, the passport that gets you hired. See the video.Read more