Yesterday I had the privilege of eating at a great Melbourne restaurant – Maha. The food was exceptional but what I came away from the meal with was…. well it was an ‘experience’ and not just a ‘meal’. A number of things went into the 3 hours that we dined at Maha that stood out and left me pondering what I could learn from the success of this restaurant and apply to my own business.
Walking into Maha there was an immediate transformation that occurred that drew us into the experience. Situated on a small and fairly ugly street filled with the back ends of buildings and car parks (I have to say I wasn’t expecting much of a place in this part of the city) – Maha’s fit out immediately created an impression that lasted for the rest of the afternoon (and beyond). It was anything but like the street outside and was a luxurious yet tasteful version of a middle eastern dining room. Dark, cosy and inviting – in stark contrast to the bright, stark, surrounds of concrete outside. Lessons: first impressions matter a lot and can create a lasting impression that sets up the experience someone has of what you’re doing. Unexpected contrast is also something that will grab people’s attention and make them take notice of what you’re doing. Lesson #2: Simplified Dining
Sometimes dining in places like Maha can be an overwhelming experience for a guy like me. I’m no gourmet and being confronted with a menu filled with dishes that need translation and being overwhelmed with a wine list with so many options that I have no idea where to start isn’t my idea of a great way to start a meal. Instead at Maha we were warmly greeted, seated and giving a very simple drinks menu (with an invitation for a more extensive one if we required it). The menu for the day was a banquet (chefs choice – although we could have some input if we had special needs) which I also appreciated. Conversation was not interrupted with choices of food and drinks and the overwhelming nature of those menus and...
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