Maxwell’s Group Events is finally up-and-running. We spoke to the face of the new team, corporate sales and events director Craig Woodley, about the new brand, changing perceptions and loving vegans

Familiar with the Maxwell’s Group? Chances are you’ve dined or wined in one of its nine London restaurants, bars and clubs. After opening one of the first American-style dining experiences in the UK in 1972 (Maxwell’s Bar and Grill) the group steadily grew to become one of the capital’s main restaurant operators. But after realising that more than 70% of the group’s revenues came from private and corporate events, it only made sense to set up a dedicated events branch of the business. 

Enter Maxwell’s Group Events. It represents Tropicana Beach Club and Café de Paris, the entertainment venues owned by Maxwell’s Group. September has seen the launch of a new website (you should check it out), so we met with Craig Woodley, the man who heads up the new team, to talk about the team’s exciting plans, as well as the trends and challenges that he thinks are affecting the events sector today. 

Maxwell Group Events feature interview

‘I wanted to modernise everything,’ he says, having learned from his time at Lime Venue Portfolio the benefit of group branding. Starting with the menu (which hasn’t been updated in years), new and better photography of the venues (again, it’s been yonks), and new concepts and ideas. 

‘We want to change the perception that we’re just nightclubs,’ Craig says. Food is central to the Maxwell’s Group ethos, so a huge focus has been put on the in-house catering. Other than that, the venues’ USPs are entertainment and full-circle management. ‘Our slogan is “make your event an experience”, so we’re aiming to integrate entertainment into the dining experience,’ explains Craig. 

Maxwell Group Events feature interview

The word ‘experience’ (and even more so, ‘immersive’) is frequently thrown around the events industry these days. Is it a trend? ‘Absolutely,’ thinks Craig. ‘People want interaction at their events, they want to be involved. Clients require more than canapés and a glass of champagne. That puts pressure on the industry to constantly come up with exciting concepts and types of entertainment.’

Good thing then, that this is exactly what Maxwell’s Group Events’ two venues are all about. At Tropicana Beach Club you’ll find food stations (hello tacos!), and the acrobats and dancers aren’t just performers – they interact and engage with the audience too (and even serve them drinks).  

Maxwell Group Events feature interview

Another trend washing over the capital right now is ‘the green wave’. Sustainability, mindfulness, veganism, ethical sourcing, plastic waste reduction – it’s all in there, and it’s quickly infiltrating the events sector. ‘This is something Maxwell’s Group Events is embracing fully already,’ Craig tells us. ‘We love the vegans and we are ready for them! Our new menu has a huge selection for all dietary requirements, including those with plant-based diets.’      

Maxwell’s was also one of the pioneers in London for putting an end to the use of single-use plastic straws, and the group has a fantastic track record for recycling at its events. ‘We’re also looking into how we can further improve and control food waste,’ Craig adds. 

Maxwell Group Events feature interview

Craig says the digital revolution (with the likes of VR and AI) is another trend that’s also making its impression on the industry. ‘I think these trends are still in their starting phases and that they’ll develop further and increasingly influence the industry,’ Craig predicts.  ‘But simultaneously, some of these trends, especially technology, will be a challenge for the sector going forward. Constantly updating equipment to meet the latest innovations is not only costly, but also time-consuming and impractical,’ he explains. 

Maxwell’s Group Events will be fine though. It already has plans for an artist showcase for Sony Records at Café De Paris. And if it’s good enough for technology pioneers Sony, we’re convinced you’ll be satisfied too.