If you’ve ever stepped foot inside of Blackbird, we can pretty much guarantee that you’ve met Max. He’s the one who is always smiling, loves small talk and light-hearted conversations, will recognize your face if you’ve been more than once (and ask you how your grandmother’s cat is doing after its surgery…well something like that) and will even bring you your favorite drink order without having to ask.
We thought, surely, this couldn’t be real. This smile. This happy demeanor. This seemingly genuine joy
. What is
his secret? How
can he be this awesome?
But the more we visited, the more friends we talked to, the more strangers we would probe about Max, we found that actually, he is just this guy. Happy, kind, sociable. And the more we witnessed this genuine joy, the more we wanted to be around it—which is why you can find us at Blackbird all.the.time. (Well, the pancakes and amazing coffee also help).
So we decided to it was time to actually sit down with Max and get to know a little bit more about him…he is our favorite barista (who makes a mean Flat White) after all.
Max was born and raised right here in Vaud, in a small town just next to Nyon called Prangins. Yes, the one with the mental institution.
He grew up surrounded by family, watching his mother and grandmother cook in the kitchen, but when you ask Max if he’s close to his family he chuckles and says he actually prefers his friends. He will not claim to be family-oriented in the least. In fact, when it came time to choose his major in university he decided that this was the time to showcase his rebellion against his parents and choose something so off-the-cuff they would be sure to cringe so…he chose Biochemistry. Yes, you read that correctly. Max decided to rebel by choosing biochemistry
as his major. Way to stick it to them, Max 😉
All joking aside, Max’s independence started at a young age through a desire to ‘make it on his own.’ He began working odd jobs at the age of 12—from a factory line making water heater parts, to manufacturing boomerangs, Max found a way to start making money which in his mind would lead to the ultimate dream of one day being his own boss. Fast forward a few (or many) years, and Max found himself in the kitchen at one of Lausanne’s fastest growing and most popular food restaurants, Holy Cow. He barely spoke a word of English (and couldn’t always understand his boss’s Welsh accent 😉 ), was working in an intensely fast-paced environment, but realized that this was something different…something good. With a biochem degree under his belt, and a well-paying teaching gig at stake, Max decided to take a risk and start putting more hours into the restaurant business instead. Fast forward a few more years and Max ended up following his boss (yes, the one from Wales) in a new endeavor…one that wasn’t about burgers, but about breakfast. And it was there that Max felt certain that he was exactly where he was meant to be.
“Are you always this happy?” We asked him.
.” He replied, to our surprise. But then he added, “But I am here.”
He went on to explain that the place does something to him—that when he walks into the doors at Blackbird
he almost gets a natural high. “And it’s the people: the regulars, the ones who smile and make conversation, the ones who feel comfortable and appreciated, the ones who get a kick out of me bringing their regular drink order without asking for it—it’s those people who make it all worth it.” (FYI Max now knows 40 regulars’ drink orders).
In case you can’t tell, Max is pretty much in the perfect place. He’s the model of how things should be in the service industry. Don’t we all want to be looked after? Remembered? Smiled at? Cherished? Before Blackbird, before Max, we were starting to think that maybe this wasn’t really something that existed here in Switzerland. At least not in the places we frequented. And don’t get us wrong; we don’t think people are rude here in the service industry (well, not all people), but we didn’t realize how much of a void existed in the market until we met Max. So without sounding cheesy and singing Phish’s theme song to Cheers, we will say this: It’s nice to have a place where somebodyknows your name…and brings you that Flat White before you’ve managed to hang your coat.
We love you, Max!
And just to prove that we aren’t the only ones, here are a few other customers who had something to say about Max:
“The food is great. The coffee wonderful. But it’s the welcome that makes this cafe our favourite. That’s all down to Max. He always have a smile for us, even when we arrive bleary eyed with the rest of the parents at what-the-hell-o’clock on a Saturday morning. My 17 month old adores him as he always has a minute or two to spend showing appropriate appreciation for whatever treasure she has decided to show him. And because he brings her pancakes!” -NP
“For me he is an exceptional Swiss! I love to go to BlackBird only because of him! His big smile makes my day much better and he is always kind and happy! That’s why he is my exceptional authentic Swiss guy in this city!!” -JM
“Whether it is super early (like 7AM early) on a weekday morning, or a little less early on a Saturday, Max is always the first person we see when we walk in to Blackbird. Not just that, but he welcomes us with a sincere smile and great conversation. Seriously, just this morning he asked me about the job interview I had just returned home from; I didn’t even remember telling him about it! Either we frequent Blackbird a little too often, or Max is one of the most considerate and caring baristas in the world. I certainly think it is the latter.” -SP
“His service is so unaffected and refreshingly super welcoming. always smiling, his joy at serving his customers comes across as completely genuine.
Nothing is ever too much to ask from Max. I always have a curious toddler in tow, which sometimes can be a bit much (for this mum!) but this has never phased Max – he has the patience of a saint! I love my “local” & also love that Max knows my coffee order as soon as I walk through his doors.” -EK
And finally, one of our favorites:
“Like a raven haired prince from a gentler time, Max will not only welcome you into your new favorite breakfast place–he will befriend you.” -JP
After this, how can you NOT go and pay him a visit?
Blackbird Coffee & Breakfast Club
Monday – Friday 7h30-to-17h30
(Kitchen open from 08:00-to-15:30)
(Kitchen open from 08:00-to-15:30)Sunday Closed