Here is a PMA article re a minilab refit. Seems to be thinking along your lines. May be useful.
"The Camera Corner Digital Photo Cafe was designed to offer a "martini bar" atmosphere
With nine kiosks, a plasma TV, a wireless Internet connection, free beverages, and a play area, Camera Corner redefines the digital cafe
Staff members of Camera Corner/Connecting Point, Green Bay, Wis., were sent to PMA 2005 with a clear mission: Come back with an idea to make more money.
When Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner, and two staff members returned last year, they sat down and talked about what they learned.
"We kept coming back to the fact everything is digital. Billions of images are being taken, but never printed. People are deleting them. They don't know how to store them. Printing at home has not taken the world by storm. It's not convenient, fast, or simple to print," Chernick says. "We returned from PMA knowing we had to do something for our marketplace to ensure our customers print those precious images."
Chernick's journey to recreate Camera Corner was featured in the February issue of Photo Marketing magazine, now online. Here is an excerpt.
Something for everyone
Chernick decided his customers needed a better environment within his store in which to print digital images. Rather than having customers stand at one or two kiosks placed on a countertop, Chernick wanted to create a separate area where people could sit and relax.
"I started off with the concept of a bar - making it look like a classy tavern, with a brown bar and wooden stools. Then I hired a designer who suggested a martini bar look instead. We made it a Digital Photo Cafe, which is a name we have trademarked," Chernick says.
This is not your average kiosk area, though. In addition to nine photo kiosks, the area offers reading material, a plasma television, a computer with a wireless connection for customer use, and a play area for children. People are invited to enjoy a bottle of water or a cup of coffee while there.
"It's bright, colorful, and comfortable," Chernick says. "It's a fun place to sit down and do your printing. We put the plasma television in, so if the wife wants to sit and print for 30 minutes, her husband can pick up the remote and watch CNN or the Saturday afternoon football game. Or he could pull out the USA Today from underneath the table and read."
Alternatively, mom can print while her 15-year-old surfs the Web and her 7-year-old colors at the kids' table.
"We've tried to think of everything, so everyone is happy," he says.
In a word, the Digital Photo Cafe is gorgeous - but it didn't come cheaply.
"We spent about $100,000 on the remodel, including seven new kiosks, a new counter, moving walls, putting in refrigeration, and the television," Chernick says.
Six of the new units are Lucidiom Automated Photo Machines (APMs). "I also have a new machine that will take your digital card and automatically drop your images into a PowerPoint presentation with music," Chernick states. "We charge $20 for that service; and people love it for weddings, funerals, and parties. You wouldn't find that at Wal-Mart."
The Digital Photo Cafe also offers something no kiosk area should ever be without - friendly staff to help.
"I remember the first time I went to the airport with an e-ticket. A clerk told me, 'Just stick your credit card in the machine and punch it up,'" he notes. "I looked at that machine and said, 'You do it.' I don't want to look stupid. This guy behind me might know me, for one thing. And I don't want to make a mistake and move my wife to the back of the plane. I'm in the technology business, and I still felt that way."
That experience made Chernick very aware of the need to keep staff members on hand to help customers with the photo kiosks.
"We will always be available to help the customer, whether it's their first time or not. We don't want our customers ever to feel silly or confused, or not know how to back up if they make a mistake. Once they get the hang of it, they don't need us as much; but we are always there to coach them, help them, and build relationships," he explains. "Even if it's just to wipe the screen off, that's why we're here. We wipe the counter and screen after every person, so it's always clean, presentable, and comfortable. That's why the customer loves coming here."
Off to a good start
Building the Cafe required a remodel of 20 percent of the retail photo space and took 3 months to complete. When it was finished, Camera Corner invited about 200 people to a grand opening party. The store also passed out Digital Photo Cafe mugs bearing the Camera Corner logo.
"Now, we're doing TV and radio ads, as well as newspaper and billboards. Ever since we started doing that, people have been flocking in here," Chernick says. "It's been unbelievable. It's so much fun. I love walking over there and seeing several stations being worked on."
What Chernick did not want to see, however, was people waiting in line. Borrowing an idea from grocery stores, he decided to create an Express Lane.
"You can't do any cropping, enhancing, or anything like that in the Express Lane. It's just for someone who wants to walk in, print and get out," he says."