On October 24th Nordstrom opened its first New York City flagship store in Midtown, clocking in at 320,000 square feet across seven floors. The palace to premium capitalism features everything from a testing ground for direct-to-consumer brands to a services floor dedicated to  beauty and personal care, not to mention everything else you would expect from legacy brands at Nordstrom. 

But there is one feature that immediately stood out: customers will be able to order food and drinks from anywhere in the store to enjoy during their spending spree. While this sounds like a good concept, it could clearly become an operational mess. The company apparently understands the risks of this approach, as Nordstrom’s vice president of restaurant operations said it’s “the cost of doing business.” But does Nordstrom really know what it’s doing? 

With only eight options available for in-store delivery, you would think the menu is curated enough to avoid foods that require your hands and lots of napkins—the type of foods that would wreak havoc on, say, a department store full of very expensive luxury products. Think again. The menu consists of a double-beef cheeseburger (greasy!), “crunchy, tangy, juicy chicken tacos” (napkins, please!) and chicken wings (so messy!). It’s surprising that out of all the options on Bistro Verde’s menu, which is where the food originates from, these were the selections for “eating while shopping.” Drinks are also available on every floor but the fourth, sixth and seventh. 

Here’s everything that can go wrong: 

It’s 2pm on a Sunday and your family of four is tagging along for some casual shopping. You don’t really need a new handbag but just want one. You’re a slow shopper so you set your two kids and husband (9, 13 and 38 years old respectively) up in a corner while you get to work. 

About 30 minutes later, you come back to an unsightly scene. Your 13-year-old son scarfed down two orders of chicken wings and is running around the wedding section playing “tag, you’re it” with the dresses. He’s winning, but you’re losing. The damage is astounding—tens of thousands of dollars worth. Even though you got married 15 years ago, you’re now the proud new owner of nine wedding dresses. Time to renew your vows? 

Your nine-year-old daughter, meanwhile, is a huge purveyor of tacos and has decided to take a walk while she eats them. The juicy-ness is dripping as she walks, leaving a juice trail behind her like a mammal’s tracks in the woods. At least you can use this to find her. She gets full and decides to leave the rest of her last, half-eaten taco inside of a Birkin Bag, instantly destroying $10,000 of value. Maybe you can offload it on The RealReal? 

Finally, your husband got hungry and just had to order the double cheeseburger and a pitcher of Budweiser. He went to town on both, getting about 80% of the way through the burger but 100% though the pitcher. He’s now feeling loose and has the genius idea that it’s time for him to experience walking in high heels for the first time. He asks a very confused sales associate pull three pairs of Louboutins for him to strut around in. She obliges. The problem—well, at this point, another problem—is that he’s so inebriated that he takes two steps, wobbles, breaks a heel then hits the deck, lacking the power to get back on his feet. Instead, he passes out and starts snoring in the middle of the shoe section. Everyone is staring. 

Your casual shopping excursion is now a multi-thousand dollar catastrophe that’s causing you to question your marriage and the way you raised your children. The worst part: no one was even that hungry.  

While the scenario outlined above is clearly dramatic, parts of it are plausible, especially around the potential damage to goods, which Nordstrom is clearly underestimating. The concept of serving food and drinks while shopping is promising, but doing so with a poorly thought out menu is not. 

But one of the most potentially problematic aspects of Nordstrom’s food operation is the burden that it places on its sales associates, who are there to sell consumer products, not food and beverages. Sure, if people eat and have a drink they will likely stay longer and maybe make an impulse purchase with some alcohol flowing through their system. This can increase sales—Nordstrom says one in four transactions is for food and beverage and that it sells 750,000 tacos and one million pounds of coffee beans per year. 

However, these trained and often accomplished sellers don’t want to be taking food orders, which they currently do under this system via a headset, nor do they want to deal with the repercussions of shaky hands and dirty fingers on their merchandise. One would hope Nordstrom has adapted its policies for this situation since many stores will charge their employees for merchandise that’s damaged on their watch, even if it’s the customer’s fault. 

There is no shortage of good ideas in the world. Luckily, execution matters more and right now Nordstrom’s plan is worth sending back to the kitchen.