Ikea stores to be set up in India, the store's most famous food item not to be included in their cafeteria menu

Ikea stores to be set up in India, the store
Highlights

Furniture giant Ikea is set to open its first store and restaurant in India after years of trying but arguably its most famous item is off the menu -- Swedish meatballs.Ikea, the world\'s biggest furniture retailer, will next month cut the ribbon on a massive 37,000 square metre outlet in Hyderabad, complete with a 1,000-seater cafeteria.

MUMBAI:Ikea, the world's biggest furniture retailer, will next month cut the ribbon on a massive 37,000 square metre outlet in Hyderabad, complete with a 1,000-seater cafeteria.

Although the news of Ikea being set to open its first store and restaurant in India after years of trying can be exciting, it seems that its most famous item, Swedish meatballs, are off the menu. The restaurant will cater to local tastes. Beef and pork, the staples of Swedish meatballs, will not be served, owing to religious sensitivities in India.

"There will be chicken meatballs and vegetarian balls," said Patrik Antoni, Ikea's deputy country manager for India."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 Swedish multinational revolutionised household furnishings with its range of affordable ready-to-assemble products, and is betting big on India as it seeks new revenues away from its key Western markets. As it aims at attracting price sensitive Indian customers away from fulfilling their furniture needs at local shops, it plans to invest $1.5 billion in Asia's third-largest economy. $750 million has already been spent by Ikea for procuring sites for four stores, including the Hyderabad one. Hyderabad's store will open in July, and the date has not been announced yet.

Antoni said that outlets in Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi will follow, and he did not put a timescale on them. He added that Ikea will then look at Pune, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Surat and Kolkata."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," said Antoni.

The Hyderabad store will be of 37,160 square meters and have 850 employees. It is expected to attract several million visitors a year. Apart from its wide range of international items, Ikea will also sell goods uniquely suited to the Indian market.

"We have done over a thousand home visits and interviewed people to try to understand their needs, dreams, aspirations and how they feel about their home," explained Antoni.More than 1,000 products priced under Rs 200 ($2.94) will be on sale.

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