Barnes & Noble to sell beer & wine in new concept stores
Through a special arrangement, what follows is an excerpt of an article from Retail Dive, an e-newsletter and website providing a 60-second bird’s eye view of the latest retail news and trends
Barnes & Noble last week said it plans to introduce an elevated restaurant concept at four of its stores.
The restaurants will be led by an executive chef bringing food, beer, wine and tableside service with full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. The restaurants will be twice the size of B&N’s current in-store concessions first unveiled in the early 1990s, which feature Starbucks coffee and pastries. The first new concept store to open in Eastchester, NY includes outdoor seating, a fire pit and bocce court.
The news came while the retailer posted a loss in its fourth quarter and said it expects flattish same-store sales in the current year.
The National Restaurant Association calls retail-host restaurants one of the fastest-growing segments for restaurant food, expanding at an annual rate of close to six percent.
One reason the strategy fits with CEO Ronald Boire’s vision for Barnes & Noble — food service is a clear brick-and-mortar advantage.
“I know that there are two parts of retail that cannot be duplicated on the internet: one is food and dining and the other is entertainment,” Nick Egelanian, president of retail development consultants SiteWorks International, told Retail Dive.
Restaurant operations come with a host of considerations — health inspections, food spoilage, and sitting issues among them — that many retailers haven’t wrestled with. But Barnes & Noble believes its cafes experience has paid off.
“We have 588 restaurants today,” Mr. Boire told investors. “We know how to keep them clean, we know how to get product to them. It’s really about the creativity around the new menu and a new experience.”
The new concept stores will also foster the element of discovery that many book shoppers enjoy.
“I think when you walk in you’re going to see a lot more tables in a sense of curated experiences. So that you can go, ‘Oh, this is interesting,”’ said Jaime Carey, its COO who will lead the restaurant initiative. “I think that experience is going to be very exciting for our customers.”
- Barnes & Noble planning beer, wine offerings at new restaurants – Retail Dive
- Barnes & Noble Reports Fiscal 2016 Year-End Financial Results – Barnes & Noble
- Barnes & Noble Fourth Quarter Conference Call – Seeking Alpha
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Barnes & Noble incorporating restaurants with beer and wine inside its stores? Can retail-host restaurants work as a differentiator for many physical stores?