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Friday, 21 April 2017 | MYT 6:24 AM

Like the food at Ikea? Good news, it’s opening standalone restaurants

Ikea vegetarian meatballs.

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.'”

Ikea standalone restaurant

Ikea’s Swedish meatballs. Photo: Ikea Malaysia

The concept makes sense. Numbers show that 30% of customers are travelling to Ikea stores just to eat. This despite the fact that the stores are often located away from the city centre.

As any cash-strapped student and Ikea regular knows, US$20 (RM88) goes a long way at the cafeteria. A hot plate of Swedish meatballs goes for US$5 (Ed: At Ikea Malaysia, it’s RM12 for 10); kids’ pasta or chicken tenders go for less than US$3 (Ed: Kids’ meals are between RM3 and RM6 in Malaysia).

A market research report by Euromonitor ranked Ikea 9th on a list of the top 10 international food service brands outside the US and Canada in 2015.

The company’s focus on renovating and modernising Ikea cafeterias in the US began last year. Restaurants are being made over to offer different zones for different needs, including quick bites, families, and lounging. – AFP Relaxnews