The Future Of IKEA Could Be… Restaurants

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 19, 2017

Ever had to schlep out all the way to a faraway Ikea megastore just to get some perfectly cooked - and dirt-cheap - meatballs? Or some cinnamon buns?

The massive furniture store wants to capitalize on the popularity of its in-house cafeteria with stand alone restaurants, according to a new report from Fast Company magazine.

"We've always called the meatballs 'the best sofa-seller, '" Gerd Diewald, who runs food operations in USA -based Ikea locations, told Fast Company.

La Cour's team set about examining every part of Ikea's food business, applying the same kind of thinking the company uses for its furniture business. "But when I started putting the numbers into context of other food companies, suddenly I could see, well, it really is not that small".

Ikea Food's managing director Michael La Cour said they had annual sales of about $1.5 billion in 2013.

It's expanded into much more than just a side gig - generating $1.8B in 2016. As a whole, Ikea brought in a cool $36.5 billion in revenue previous year alone.

The reason for the spike?

People are pumped at the mere prospect, which has not yet been confirmed by the company.

Ikea has opened cafes in London and Paris, and now is considering doing so in the United States.

About half of Ikea's menus are typically made up of traditional Scandinavian foods, with regional dishes specific to each store's location rounding out the rest, like chicken tenders and mac-and-cheese in the US; beans-and-toast at breakfast in U.K. stores, or a Shawarma Combo in the United Arab Emirates. The restaurants, many of which can accommodate 600-plus diners at once, now include different sections, including an area with comfortable sofas and a children's play section.

'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"'.

Which is why it's very exciting that Ikea is now pondering opening standalone restaurants, so we can enjoy our meatballs without pretending we needed to buy a rug.

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