Monday, September 20

The Ikea cafeteria (part 1)

Having recently moved across the country, I've spent more time than I'd care to admit recently at the Ottawa Ikea. I'll spare blog readers a rant about the challenges of assembling their furniture. What's more fascinating about Ikea is their restaurant: it's really cheap. You can get a (very yummy) hot dog for just 50 cents.

It's a brilliant strategy and I'm not sure why other retailers don't use it as well: cover your costs (or even lose a little money) on food to draw people into the store, in hopes they'll buy pricier items. Ikea isn't getting rich off its hot dogs, but if everyone who buys a hot dog then decides to buy a $100 piece of furniture, their investment in food services is going to pay off quickly.

It's common knowledge that to get kids to buy stuff, all you need is a colourful little toy (cereals and McDonald's exploit this wonderfully). But while most women know that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, not many retailers seem to exploit this. Costco offers a cheap cafeteria, but it doesn't quite rival the value of Ikea's. Other chains do have food deals (Chapters and Safeway with Starbucks, Home Depot with Harvey's, Walmart with McDonald's), but none are nearly as good value for money as Ikea.

Does anyone have ideas as to why no one seems to be mimicking Ikea's model?