Ikea Food's managing director Michael La Cour told Fast Company: "The mere fact that we don't need so many square feet to do a café or a restaurant makes it interesting by itself". "Because it's hard to do business with hungry customers".
The idea partially stemmed from data that showed 30% of Ikea Food customers weren't coming to shop at all - they were exclusively interested in the dining options, according to Fast Company.
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A year after opening the first Ikea in 1958, founder Ingvar Kamprad built the first sit-down restaurant inside the furniture store, featuring fan favorites like their signature Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, and lingonberry jam.
With any luck, more IKEA customers will be able to get their Swedish meatball fix at restaurants in cities. Reasons like streamlining supply chains and adding new menu items (chicken or vegan versions of the famed meatball, anyone?).
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Usually, you think of IKEA as the place to go to pick out some furniture, grab some new kitchen gadgets, and maybe fight with your partner about their questionable taste in sofas.
'I firmly believe there is potential. This is a far cry from the company's $US36.5 billion ($48.2 billion) in 2016 revenue, but La Cour says, comparative to other food companies, the division is "not that small". They have already tested pop-up restaurants in London, Paris, and Oslo, and they're now thinking of starting their own line of restaurants that are separate from the stores.
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Even more surprisingly: Of all the folks who drop in for a bite at IKEA, it seems almost a third are there just for the food, not as a pit stop along the way to new furniture. Now, the company is mulling over the idea of Ikea restaurants that operate separately from the traditional big-box stores.