Barnes and Noble tries to portray the message of comfort and casual intellect through their placement of a cafe. The room is warm because of the coffee machinery while the air smells like baked goods and java. The warmth and smells lure customers onto the third floor where there’s an abundance of seating and more ways to spend money. They offer all kinds of food from Cheesecake Factory brand cheesecake to gooey grilled cheeses and they serve familiar drinks from Starbucks although it’s not actually a Starbucks. Barnes and Nobles retails Starbucks products, but they are not a Starbucks restaurant and the baristas are B&N employees. All along the walls are illustrations of famous writers sitting together at a cafe drinking coffee just as the customers are doing. The seating is packed with customers as they read their novels or tap away on their keyboards.

But the B&N cafe is unlike any other coffee shop or cafe, the high ceilings and cafeteria style counters take away the intimacy that a small or locally owned place would. The signage stating “Cafe tables are reserved for diners dining in our cafe (30 minute limit)” also works to take away the intimacy and comfort. In order to impose their customer only rule, the only way to enter the actual seating area is through the line at the counter with railing or guiding ribbon sectioning off the rest of the bookstore from the cafe.

Barnes and Noble’s attempt at portraying comfort through a cafe is ultimately unsuccessful due to the rigidity of their time limit and the cafeteria style decor. Their effort doesn’t go unnoticed since the area is always packed with customers. And other than the small benches scattered throughout the store, the cafe has the largest seating area making it an attractive spot for a tired or hungry customer.