His Worst Five Years Were His Life’s Best Gift

or chocolate lovers, the name Max Brenner conjures the image of a bald man. But few may know who that bald man is—or how much this brand hurt and taught him. Here’s the short of it: Max Brenner is a restaurant and retail shop with 50-plus locations worldwide that sells delights like a fondue tower or a chocolate pizza. Its tagline is “Chocolate by the bald man,” and its logo is an illustration of…a bald man. Is it Max Brenner? Not quite. The founder is a bald Israeli man named Oded Brenner (Max was his original business partner), who created his first shop in the small town of Ra’anana 25 years ago, and eventually sold it to the Israeli food’s request for comment.) Here, Brenner opens up about how he came to view that devastating time in exile as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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