Ikea wants to serve you Swedish meatballs at standalone restaurants

Vegetarian meatballs at Ikea. — AFP pic
Vegetarian meatballs at Ikea. — AFP pic

STOCKHOLM, April 20 — A standalone Ikea restaurant could be coming to a neighbourhood near you.

The Swedish retailer has openly revealed larger ambitions to become as popular a dining destination as it is the most recognisable furniture brand in the world in the near-future.

In an interview with Fast Company, Ikea Food’s managing director Michael La Cour said they’re looking at opening standalone Ikea-branded restaurants that would operate separately from their big-box furniture stores.

“The mere fact that we don’t need so many square feet to do a café or a restaurant makes it interesting by itself,” said La Cour in the interview. 

“I firmly believe there is potential. I hope in a few years our customers will be saying, ‘Ikea is a great place to eat — and, by the way, they also sell some furniture.’”

The concept wouldn’t be far-fetched, given that 30 per cent of customers are traveling to Ikea stores — which are more often than not located in on the outskirts of major towns away from the city centre — just to eat.

As any cash-strapped student and Ikea regular knows, US$20 (RM88) goes a long way at the cafeteria, where a hot plate of Swedish meatballs goes for US$5, and a plate of kids’ pasta or chicken tenders goes for less than US$3.

In fact, in a market research report by Euromonitor, Ikea ranked ninth on a list of the top 10 international food service brands outside the US and Canada in 2015.

The development of separate Ikea restaurants makes sense, given the company’s focus on renovating and modernising Ikea cafeterias in the US that began last year.

Restaurants are being made over to offer different zones for different needs, including quick bites, families, and lounging. — AFP-Relaxnews

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