June 26, 2018
Ikea, the world’s biggest furniture retailer is set to open its first store and restaurant in Hyderabad after years of trying but arguably its most famous item is off the menu — Swedish meatballs.
The Swedish multinational, which revolutionised household furnishings with its range of affordable ready-to-assemble products, is betting big on India as it seeks new revenues away from its key Western markets.
Ikea plans to invest $1.5 billion in Asia’s third-largest economy as it seeks to lure price-sensitive Indians away from satisfying their furniture needs at local, family-run shops.
Ikea has already spent close to $750 million procuring sites for four stores, including the Hyderabad one which will open in July on a date that is yet to be announced.
Next month it is opening a massive 37,000 square metres outlet in the southern city of Hyderabad, complete with a 1,000-seater cafeteria. The restaurant will be Ikea’s largest and will cater to local tastes, with religious sensitivities in India dictating that beef and pork, staples of Swedish meatballs, will not be served.
Patrik Antoni, Ikea’s deputy country manager for India, stated that “There will be chicken meatballs and vegetarian balls but no Swedish meatballs. Fifty per cent of the food will be Swedish inspired, salmon and shrimp dishes and so on, along quite a few Indian dishes like dal makhani, biryani, samosas.
Outlets in Mumbai, Bangalore and the capital New Delhi will follow, and then the company willl then look at Pune, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Surat and Kolkata.
At 37,160 square metres the Hyderabad store will be comparable in size to an average Indian shopping mall. It will have 850 employees and is expected to attract several million visitors a year.