IKEA Is Making Its Food And Restaurants A Central Part Of Its Business

IKEA has big plans for its restaurants and food selection in the United States, where Swedish staples like meatballs with lingonberry sauce are served cafeteria-style.

According to the Washington Post, the furniture company's decision to focus on its culinary offerings stems from a notable increase in traffic to its restaurants compared to the actual furniture sections. In other words, Americans are now visiting IKEA just for the food, and IKEA is just fine with that.

To capitalize on the trend, the company will implement restaurant makeovers in all 41 of its U.S. restaurants, upgrading the relatively minimal setup to feature three zones for guests. One area will be outfitted with high tables and barstools for quick meals, and another zone will be designed for families, with activities for young children and tables for their parents to eat nearby. A third zone will be called "Fika," the Swedish word for a coffee break, and will emulate a cozy coffee shop.  

In the last year, IKEA has also made efforts to adapt its menu to a more ingredient- and sourcing-conscious public, with the introduction of a vegetarian version of its Swedish meatball, and its transition to a sustainable seafood supplier.

That, too, is meant to make you think of IKEA as more than just the supplier of the only furniture that Millennials can afford. "The public today definitely wants to know where their food is coming from," said Peter Ho, a product developer for IKEA's food division.