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IKEA Food | Why Is It so Cheap?

IKEA is a furniture and homeware store that is well-known for cheap… food. Yes, the Swedish business has quite a reputation for its restaurants, cafes, and bistros. It’s a rather peculiar combination, yet it seems to work well.

Not only is the price of food low, but it is also actually quite tasty. So, why does IKEA sell food for so little? They can’t be making a profit—not considering the quality of it. The price of the food comes down to a creative marketing strategy by the company.

IKEA food is cheap to encourage customers to partake in a meal during a shopping trip and to stay in the store. This increases the likelihood of customers making a purchase, while the food is also designed to further the "affordable and good" message that IKEA values.

IKEA Wants to Keep You in the Store

IKEA aims to be a one-stop shop where you can walk out with everything you need to furnish your home.

They sell food so that you don’t leave the store. So, if you get hungry during your shopping trip, rather than rushing off for a food break and maybe deciding you will leave the purchasing for another day, you can sit down in the store and enjoy an affordable meal.

It also means that instead of going away to contemplate your furniture options, you can stop for refreshments, make your decision, and go away with IKEA furniture.

Food Is Cheap to Promote Other Sales

The food is cheap at IKEA to help the sales of furniture, appliances, and the variety of other goods that IKEA offers.

If the customers could get a cheaper meal around the corner, then there is the distinct chance that this is what they will do.

IKEA’s food is meant to keep you in the store so that you can focus on making a decision and making the payment. The longer you are in the store, the more likely you are to buy something (or several somethings).

People lining up at IKEA food store

IKEA Doesn’t Need to Make a Profit on the Food

IKEA is a leading furniture and appliance store with thousands of branches across multiple nations and continents. It doesn’t need to make a profit on the food. In fact, the company is willing to make a loss because food-based profit is not a goal.

Rather, the option to eat at IKEA is a sacrificial loss that is intended to encourage you to stay longer and purchase their products, as well as to uplift the experience of shopping in one of the stores.

If you are there for a meal but spend thousands on household items, IKEA still makes a profit if you have some meatballs.

Cheap Food Promotes Their Message

IKEA aims to provide you with affordable furniture and appliances. They have cultivated the idea that cheaper is not bad. This message of getting good products for a low price is carried on in the food side of IKEA’s business.

You are able to find a hearty meal and take a rest during a long trip to IKEA, and you will find that it’s more than worth the purchase since IKEA offers the cheapest food around. In addition, the food helps promote the convenience of the IKEA experience.

Plus, you are being flooded with IKEA’s main image point—that they are affordable.

Food is a common expenditure; you know when you are getting a good deal. Our knowledge of furniture pricing is not usually as extensive, so the idea that they sell cheap food promotes the idea that they sell affordable products too.

You Might Come Back for the Food

Not only is the price considered, but so is the taste. IKEA wants you to like the food, and they want it to be cheap (again, for the “cheap is still good” idea).

If you like the food enough that you are willing to stop by IKEA the next time you need something so that you can also get a meal, then the food serves its purpose in helping sales.

The food that IKEA offers is also a way to connect with local consumers. It creates a sense of provision— that the store has thought about your needs and provided.

Can You Just Go for the Food?

You don’t need the excuse of a furniture purchase to stop by for the IKEA food.

However, the design of an IKEA store is intended to take you past all the products and to encourage impulse, coincidental, or I-didn’t-know-I-needed-it buys.

Even if you don’t pick up unnecessary purchases on your quest for IKEA food, the company will encourage the visit.

Eventually, you will need to buy homeware or furniture. If you keep coming back for the food, you are more likely to make your purchases with them, especially if you are happy for the opportunity to stop for a meal while you are there.

Is the Food Quality Good?

Since IKEA uses food as a catalyst for sales or as a method for preventing the loss of sales, it makes sense that the “good and cheap” brand actually has good food. The food is also more home-style than fast-food style, and there are both some local and IKEA classics in your nearest store.

Swedish food at IKEA food store, plate with meatballs, mashed potato and veggies with a plate of chocolate cake and a glass of water

Sure, the food at IKEA is no Michelin restaurant, and some menu items are better than others, but the food is decent, considering you pay almost nothing for it. Many people find themselves going back for the food, which is the whole point.

If the food were awful, it would act as a deterrent rather than an attraction, defeating the operation’s whole purpose. IKEA wants your experience in their store to be pleasant and memorable so that you will be a return customer.


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