Drafts owners, the Melsas, say they got some good ideas and suggestions

    With the idea of giving local restaurants “extra outside eyes and ears,” a restaurant consultant from the Boston area recently spent a week in Crookston, CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth explained, “poking around and providing feedback.”

    Hoiseth said the consultant, who visited the restaurants anonymously/undercover, was pretty impressed overall, but will produce a report with “constructive feedback.”

    Hoiseth said he, too, is meeting with local restaurant owners/managers to see how they think the experience went.

    One of his stops was Drafts Sports Bar and Grill, where he spent a couple hours with owners Brent and Jasmine Melsa. The Melsas tell the Times that the consultant was thorough in the things he touched on, including the restaurant and bar’s decor and design, its cleanliness, menu, social media presence and ideas for the new Drafts food truck that’s in the works.

    “It’s always great to get an outside perspective from someone that is knowledgeable in the restaurant business and also someone that is from another area of the country that has a fresh, different take on things,” Jasmine Melsa said.

    Some of the tips the consultant offered up involved ways Drafts could heighten its own brand as well as the brands of various local businesses through partnerships.

    The consultant offered up advice on how Drafts could improve its signage for its bar and restaurant and especially for its off-sale. He offered to be a resource for future advice and guidance as well, Jasmine Melsa added.

    “All in all it was a good meeting and greatly appreciated,” she said.

    Hoiseth said that for the most part, local restaurant owners seemed to be appreciative of the consultant’s visits.

    “He came in unannounced, spent a day or two being a customer without announcing who he was, he got the flavor of the service and the environment, and then he made his introduction and started working with them,” Hoiseth explained. “I think he was complimentary by and large, but he had ideas for people to hopefully improve their business, and I think they were receptive to that.”

    CHEDA paid for the consultant. Hoiseth said the initiative was pursued following previous suggestions that it could be a wise investment that would benefit the local restaurant community.