Will IKEA find success in standalone restaurants?
IKEA is considering opening standalone cafes and restaurants in urban centers, according to Fast Company.
The move would come as managing director Michael La Cour has a made number of investments in the chain’s food department, including streamlining its food supply chain, reducing waste, investing in local sourcing, and adding healthier options like chicken and vegan Swedish meatballs to menu offerings. Food sales grew at eight percent on an annual basis over the last three years and reached $1.8 billion in 2016, or approximately 5 percent of its overall sales.
The popular $2 breakfasts and $5 meatball meals are also a huge traffic driver. About 30 percent of IKEA food customers head to the store just to eat, according to IKEA. About half of the menu items are Scandinavian with the rest adapted to local fare.
“The mere fact that we don’t need so many square feet to do a café or a restaurant makes it interesting by itself,” Mr. La Cour told Fast Company. “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.'”
IKEA has earned wide attention over the last two years from the opening of a number of innovative food pop-ups in London, Paris, Oslo and Toronto. In a pop-up last September in London, diners built their own meals alongside trained head chefs for up to 20 of their friends.
The Toronto pop-up opened last May featured a gigantic interactive recipe book, green displays to inspire people to grow food at home, a virtual-reality tour of four different IKEA kitchens, and meatball carts. Said Lauren MacDonald, country deputy marketing manager, IKEA Canada, at the time, “The IKEA Pop-up Experience is part of a 360⁰ campaign which supports the IKEA global theme of ‘It Starts With The Food’, which is built off the insight that food unites us.”
- Ikea’s Big Bet On Meatballs – Fast Company
- Ikea may open standalone restaurants and cafes – Curbed
- IKEA to open restaurant with self assembly required meals – The Independent
- IKEA Pop Up In Downtown Toronto – IKEA
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the pros and cons of IKEA opening standalone cafes or restaurants? How important are its in-store restaurants and food to the overall IKEA shopping experience?