“We’ve always called the meatballs ‘the best sofa-seller,’” Gerd Diewald, who runs food operations in U.S.-based Ikeas, told Fast Company. “Because it’s hard to do business with hungry customers.”
The idea partially stemmed from data that showed 30% of Ikea Food customers weren’t coming to shop at all — they were solely interested in the dining options, according to Fast Company.
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So now, the Swedish furniture giant will look beyond just feeding hungry couples about to break up over an argument about a TV stand. Ikea’s long-overlooked food division might expand into cafés in city centers after raking in about $1.8 billion in worldwide food sales in 2016, according to a Fast Company report.
The company has also updated Ikea eateries throughout the U.S., with new zones in the restaurants that accommodate families and new menu items, like chicken and vegan Swedish meatballs.