Food

Love the Swedish meatballs? Ikea may open standalone restaurants and cafés

No longer content just serving as Swedish meatball pit stops, Ikea's restaurants may be getting their own standalone locations.

While the furniture giant has not yet released the details of where or when these independent eateries may first appear, it's something the Swedish company is looking into, a spokesperson confirmed to TODAY Food.

Hans Carl?n / IKEA
Prettily plated meatballs show how dishes could look in a standalone IKEA restaurant.

After realizing its food division is under-leveraged — an astounding 30 percent of customers head to Ikea strictly for the food alone — the company started looking at the idea of independent cafés and restaurants (sans the furniture), as Fast Company reported this earlier week.

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Not convinced that people will pop into an Ikea restaurant when they're not stress-eating while trying to decide on a credenza?

Consider this: The furniture giant sells more than 1 billion meatballs every year — that's equal to 2.9 million a day.

The iconic meatballs have been on U.S. menus ever since the furniture giant opened stateside 32 years ago — more recently, it added chicken and veggie meatball options to keep up with current demands, just as it does with sofa colors.

Alexis Willick / IKEA
An IKEA restaurant inside a store near Chicago gives us some insight into how a cozy IKEA café might be decorated.

"The Ikea Food division has been rolling out new, high-quality, healthy food products to expand its offerings and meet the preferences of the many people," a company spokesperson said.

RELATED: Stressed at Ikea? 'Relationship-Saving Station' pops up to help

About half of Ikea's menus are typically made up of traditional Scandinavian foods, with regional dishes specific to each store's location rounding out the rest, like chicken tenders and mac-and-cheese in the U.S.; beans-and-toast at breakfast in U.K. stores, or a Shawarma Combo in the United Arab Emirates.

One thing's fore sure: We're betting that Ikea's eateries will be well-appointed with the latest Scandinavian designs...and that meatballs will be on the menu.

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