Swedish ready-to-assemble furniture seller IKEA plans to lure in Indian customers by selling them food. Patrick Antoni, deputy country manager at IKEA India, told The Economic Times that they are banking on the local love for eating to draw furniture purchases in India.

“We believe that we might have more customers eating than buying furniture, but the average ticket size of food is very small compared to furniture. So, most likely, food will be the first contact point for people coming to the Ikea store,” said Antoni. IKEA plans to open a 1,000-seater restaurant at it’s 400,000 square foot store in Hyderabad – the largest one in the world under the furniture maker’s brand. They play to open 25 stores of similar size by 2025.

“We internally call our restaurant or food business the best sofa-seller as it takes time to buy furniture, so we need food for people to stay. In India, for every customer on the cash counter, we will have one paying at the restaurant, too. That’s nearly 50% of the customers as Indians love food,” Antoni continued.

Globally, IKEA sold food worth $1.8 billion out of a total revenue of $36.5 billion in 2016. However, as Antoni mentioned, the average ticket size in their restaurants is much smaller than those in their furniture sections. Overall, their food sales account for nearly 10% of IKEA’s overall global sales.

This is not a novel strategy. Indian retail outlets – and especially malls – rely on restaurants, bars and food courts to attract shoppers. The entire food service market is estimated to be worth over Rs. 3 lakh crore. IKEA will be catering to local tastes by having a menu that is at least half vegetarian, including South Indian specialties like Idli Sambar and Dosa.

Header image is representative. Courtesy: Unsplash/Laurent Perren

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