IKEA is set to leap into a milestone of sorts with the launch of its sprawling 13-acre store in Hyderabad today. IKEA is betting big on tempting the average Indian's taste buds by launching "possibly India's largest" restaurant inside its store, which it also says is its biggest-ever, compared to other IKEA stores throughout the world. The massive 1,000-seater restaurant will serve customers a wide range of food items consisting of staples from Swedish and Indian cuisine, from meatballs and salmon to biryani, samosas and dal makhni.
IKEA's trademark Swedish meatballs will however undergo a slight tweak to adapt to Indian culture. Unlike traditional meatballs which are made from beef or pork, IKEA will have chicken and vegetarian options instead.
"Fifty percent of the food will be Swedish inspired, salmon and shrimp dishes and so on. We'll also have quite a few Indian dishes like dal makhani, biryani, samosas," Patrik Antoni, Ikea's deputy country manager for India, told news agency AFP.
For just Rs 149, hungry shoppers will get to sink their teeth into chicken meatballs, while a plate of biryani will be available for just Rs 99.
Apart from its food offerings, IKEA will also serve combos of coffee or tea with cinnamon buns for just Rs 70, while customers with IKEA's family card will get the combo at a discounted rate of just Rs 50, according to its official website.
With over 7,500 items which will be up for sale in IKEA's store in Hyderabad's HITEC area, including around 1,000 items which will be sold for just under Rs 200, IKEA says it wants customers to "have some energy boost halfway through" their shopping sprees.
"Food is part of the total experience," IKEA's food manager Henrik Osterstrom told AFP.
Along with standard furniture, IKEA will also sell "locally relevant products" as well.
Masala boxes, tawas (frying pans), rice cake makers and mattresses made from coconut fibres will be sold.
With its 13-acre store hiring employing around 900 people, IKEA hopes to ground itself firmly in India's furniture retail sector and give other players like Walmart, with its recent acquisition of Flipkart in the pipeline, and local players like Pepperfry and Urban Ladder, a run for their money.
(With Inputs From AFP)