The buzz going around concerning B&N's venture into restaurants is that venture is doomed. 90% of restaurants fail in the first year, as everyone knows, and that means that the B&N restaurant that just opened in Dallas (with 17,000 books on its shelves) was doomed before it started.
It turns out that in this case "what everyone knows" is wrong.
From Dallas Morning News:
Barnes & Noble is opening its first newer and smaller format store in Texas on Tuesday with a full-service bar and restaurant as the dominant feature.
Books are definitely not an afterthought, but Barnes & Noble Kitchen is as much as a destination for something to eat as it is food for thought.
The largest U.S. bookstore chain selected Plano's Legacy West as the site of the new format, the fourth of its kind among the chain's 633 stores in 50 states.
The 10,000-square-foot store's restaurant includes seating for 178 — indoors and on a patio — and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Local craft beers are on tap, and there's a community worktable with outlets and table service.
The thing about restaurants' reputed failure rate is that it's actually a lot lower than what everyone thinks.
According to Forbes, larger restaurants fail less often than startups in other service industries:
What they find is that only 17% of restaurants close in the first year, not 90%. This is in fact a lower failure rate than other service providing businesses, where 19% fail in the first year. For comparison, they find that 21% of offices of real estate agents and brokers fail in the first year, and the number is 19% for both landscapers and automotive repair. The failure rate for full-service restaurants is the same as the failure rate for insurance agencies and brokerages.
Part of restaurants reputation may be due to smaller startups, which fail more often. Restaurants with 20 or fewer employees fail more often than other service business, but those with 21 or more employees have a median lifespan that is 9 months longer than other businesses of the same size.
While w don't know whether B&N's restaurants slash bookstores will thrive, their failure is not a foregone conclusion.