The favorite activities of plenty of Millennials I know (myself included) include eating delicious foods and shopping for gorgeous furniture and other home goods. So, imagine the collective squeals of joy taking place worldwide right now as news that IKEA might be considering opening standalone restaurants, hits the internet, courtesy of Fast Company. It's a positively uplifting idea, after all, even if it's not definite that these eateries will actually be happening.
UPDATE: In a statement provided to Bustle, an IKEA spokesperson says, "At IKEA Food we’re continuously developing to meet people’s growing interest in food. The range offer is being developed to include more healthy and sustainable food ... and the restaurant seating area is being updated to improve the full experience of eating at IKEA. Both IKEA Pick-up points serving coffee and cinnamon buns as well as Pop-up restaurant events in London, Paris and Oslo have created a very positive response. So we are thinking of new ways of meeting our food customers where they are, but no plans or decisions on standalone restaurants have been made."
EARLIER: For anyone not quite on the IKEA hype train, here's a little background: The Swedish furniture company was founded in 1943 by a then-17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, who used money his father provided as a reward for doing well in school to start selling pens, wallets, picture frames, and table runners. In 1953, large-scale furniture was added to the range, and the first store opened in Almhult, Sweden in 1958. By 1985, the store had arrived in the United States and boasted a global workforce of over 10,000 employees. While the first in-store restaurant had opened in 1959, in 2006, the company launched the IKEA Food label. We all know and love the in-store cafes, which included the now world-famous selection of meatballs, of course.
IKEA's food devision also encompasses the Swedish Food Market, where customers can purchase traditional Swedish products, such as jars of herring, chocolate, coffee, and organic products. Food can also be ordered online — and here's where it starts to get really exciting: As Fast Company reports, Michael La Cour, IKEA Food’s managing director, noted that restaurants may move beyond the walls of the home furnishing stores at some point in the future. In 2013, IKEA Food had annual sales of about $1.5 billion, so is it any wonder?
Speaking about the possibility of standalone restaurants, La Cour said to 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.’" After all, in the United States, around 30 percent of Ikea Food’s customers overall are coming to the stores just to eat. (The in-store restaurants can typically house up to 600 people.) Since 2015 the company has established up successful pop-up restaurants in London, Paris, and Oslo, so the appetite for standalone locations is definitely big among customers.
And just imagine what you'd get for your money. IKEA is already known for offering full-on delicious snacks and meals in-store for knockdown prices, and which can cater to all palates (vegan meatballs were introduced in 2015, FYI). And Fast Company reports that feeding a family of four in the restaurant currently totals around $20. Where else can you get authentic chow at that price?
Although there's no guarantee as of yet whether the restaurants will definitely be happening, I sincerely hope IKEA will be capitalizing on all this hype. Pray to the meatball gods, everyone.