Bruce Hink, Mia Za’s owner recreated the restaurant from the ground up – literally. He redesigned the décor, changed menu items and added new ones, and embraced technology. Now, one year later, diners of the new Mia Za’s can influence the music being played by using their smart phones. Big-screen monitors display art instead of using conventional artwork, and diners can even submit art to be displayed. And there is a monitor at the entrance so that you can look up menu items that may be unfamiliar to you, and you can view those items and learn more about them. And for all of us who occasionally find our laptops and phone batteries dead, Mia Za’s is happy to lend us a charger to use while we dine.
But as cool as all of the new technology is, this story isn't really about the technology. This story is about a fresh start. It’s about rethinking and reworking a concept, and challenging the established ideas, beliefs and habits. It’s about changing with the times.
You don’t have to wait for your business to burn to the ground in order to have a fresh start, and I’m certainly not suggesting you get the ball rolling by starting the fire yourself. What I am suggesting is that you look closely and think about what could be different. Could you refresh your menu? Could you redecorate a bit? Can you find ways to embrace technology? How about new uniforms for your staff? There are a lot of things that can be done to refresh a concept without changing the concept outright and they don’t have to be huge or drastic.
If you’re not sure where to start, maybe it’s time to ask your customers. Better yet, invite some people in the community who aren’t your customers and ask them what they think, or invite a consultant to take a look and make recommendations. You don’t have to wait for disaster to strike to get a fresh start. You can start tomorrow on your own terms.