The Barnes & Noble book chain plans to test four expanded in-store restaurants, each featuring bar options and service at all three dayparts, in anticipation of turning its branches into dining destinations surrounded by shelves of books.
The experiment flips the bookseller’s current approach to foodservice. Instead of outfitting stores with cafes as an amenity for browsers, the struggling retailer plans to position restaurants as the main draw for consumers who might end up buying a book or magazine.
The new cafes will be double the size of Barnes & Noble’s current in-store cafe and will feature beer, wine and full meals throughout the day, executives told the financial community. Table service will be provided, and the company said it has already hired an executive chef to create the menus.
The first location is set to open north of New York City and sport amenities like a fire pit and bocce ball court. The other three stores will open in Minnesota, California and Virginia.