IKEA is all set to have its first India address. The furniture giant is opening its first store and restaurant in Hyderabad in July. The IKEA restaurant will, however, not serve its signature dish, Swedish meatballs.
According to reports, it will be a massive 37,000 square metre outlet complete with a 1,000-seat cafeteria — IKEA’s largest.
An AFP report said the IKEA restaurant would cater to local tastes, and Swedish meatballs would not be served due to the religious sensitivities attached to consumption of beef and pork in India.
“There will be chicken meatballs and vegetarian balls,” AFP quoted Patrik Antoni, Ikea’s deputy country manager for India, as saying.
“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,” he added.
The other signature IKEA restaurant dishes include Swedish apple cake, Shrimp sandwich and its range of salmon preparations.
While the company has long announced its plan to open the Hyderabad outlet in July, it is yet to give an exact date.
According to the AFP report, Ikea plans to invest $1.5 billion in India, and has already spent close to $750 million on procuring sites for four stores.
After Hyderabad, outlets will come up in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi.
Antoni said Pune, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Surat and Kolkata were also on Ikea’s radar.
“We are very bullish and excited about the Indian market. Normally, we would test a market by opening one store but in India, we are going all out and expanding,” Antoni said in the AFP report.
The 37,160-square-metre store in Hyderabad is likely to employ 850 employees.
IKEA conducted a workshop in Hyderabad last week to give insights into how it builds its product range for children.
Through the session, ‘Living with children’, the company showcased IKEA India’s plans for its children’s range. The workshop was by Mia Olsson Tuner, IKEA India’s Country Communication and Design Manager.
The IKEA’s children product range include collections inspired by India and customised according to local requirements.
The IKEA India stores will have furniture range designed for children aged eight and upwards that can be changed as per the children’s needs. IKEA will also offer a collection designed for newborns. The Hyderabad store will house ‘Smaland’, a children’s area with a forest-themed playscape where parents can leave their children with caretakers while they shop.
(With agency inputs)