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Retail Foodservice

Could a Grocerant Save Barnes & Noble?

The Lempert Report: Chain taps Kitchen offerings to compete with Amazon

Eater reports that there are now five Barnes & Noble Kitchens in the U.S., including a new one in West Plano, Texas. The first opened in Edina, Minn., in November 2016, and the company has since added four more outposts, all in affluent suburbs. 

It's no surprise the once revered bookstore chain is in trouble. In March, it reported its ninth consecutive quarter of declining sales. Times are tough for bookstores in general. In the U.S., they brought in $684 million in October 2017—nearly a 40% decrease from a decade ago, according to Census Bureau data cited by the New York Times.  

The newest Barnes & Noble Kitchen opened earlier this year in the the Dallas suburb, with a menu that includes housemade barbecue potato chips topped with crumbles of Point Reyes blue cheese; a $19 plate of roasted chicken with a side of carrot-kale slaw; avocado toast; a turkey panini; brisket burgers; and a grilled cheese-tomato soup combo. 

Barnes & Noble’s book selection may not be enough to get shoppers to abandon the gloriously lazy convenience of Amazon’s one-click ordering, said Eaterbut the company is hoping that the promise of a meal shared with friends or family will. A staff member at the Plano store told Eater there’s “typically never a wait” for a table, even during prime weekend dinner hours, while a host at the Folsom, Calif., location said wait times during peak meal times never exceed five minutes. 

The question is, if a customer has a great dining experience at Barnes & Noble Kitchen, will they switch from Amazon the next time they need a book? 

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