Hyderabad, India, is home to a 16th-century mosque, several ornate palaces ... and soon, the world's largest IKEA cafeteria.
India's first-ever IKEA store is set to open Thursday, and it will feature cheaper products and a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
The Swedish retailer has been toying with an Indian expansion for over a decade, Reuters says, and is adapting its brand to fit the locale. The maiden store, located in the southern city of Hyderabad, will sell at least 1,000 items for less than 200 rupees ($2.91). Some products may be as much as 30 percent off the U.S. price, Reuters reports.
The store will employ more than 900 people, 150 of whom will work on assembling furniture — a break from IKEA's do-it-yourself model. Most furniture in India is custom-built and sold by carpenters, CNNMoney notes, which inspired the store to offer the service.
"We knew from the beginning that we cannot be arrogant and try to copy and paste," Juvencio Maetzu, IKEA's deputy CEO and chief financial officer, told CNNMoney. "We really put a lot of effort into listening and understanding."
The Hyderabad location will have IKEA's largest restaurant worldwide, and it will feature both Swedish and Indian cuisine on the menu. Swedish meatballs — a staple at IKEAs across the globe — will be made with chicken or vegetables instead of beef or pork to accommodate Indian dietary tendencies, says The Times of India.
The Hyderabad location will be followed by stores in Mumbai and Bangalore in 2019 and 2020, respectively, as part of the company's plan to expand across the country. Read more at Reuters. Marianne Dodson