The furniture retailer’s pop-up experience store and restaurant, dubbed The Dining Club, opened this weekend. 

The unit, which Ikea will accommodate until September 25, offers a seamless shopping and dining experience.

It features a Swedish food store, a virtual reality kitchen booth, a kitchenwares store and a lecture theatre for cookery-themed workshops. Store associates are also on hand to give advice on kitchen planning and purchasing. 

A survey of 2,000 people by Ikea found that the influence of celebrity chefs and television shows such as The Great British Bake Off are fuelling a cookery trend. However, the retailer said there is a decreasing amount space to cook and eat together in UK homes, resulting in people eating together less.

Swedish classics

Ikea’s pop-up shop and The Dining Club, open daily from 10am until 10pm, aim to capitalise on these findings and pose a temporary solution.

The Dining Club is a fully immersive ‘Do-It-Yourself’ restaurant. Members of the public can book to host a brunch, lunch or dinner party for up to 20 friends and family, supported by their very own Ikea sous chef and maître d’.

The Swedish furniture retailer has put Scandinavian classics, such as Venison and wild mushrooms, on the menu and will sell many of the ingredients in the attached Swedish food store. 

Ikea business Leader Jordi Esquinas said: “Our research has found that more of us want to host dinner parties but feel that they are unable to do so. With the launch of The Dining Club, we hope to create the perfect place to bring people together to enjoy a meal from beginning to end without the stress.”

Earlier this month, Ikea opened its fourth and fifth order and collection points in Westfield Stratford City and Dublin respectively. The range of smaller-format stores are part of the retailer’s strategy to increase its accessibility to shoppers across the UK.

Ikea’s culinary facts and stats

Over a third – 39% – of Brits feel they don’t have the time or space to host a dinner party. The average British home measures only 900 sq ft.

Britain has experienced a 22% drop in families enjoying weekly meals together, with 72% claiming their parents would ensure a sit-down meal took place at least once a week, compared with 50% doing so today.

The 22% decline in weekly family meals is part of a growing trend for eating alone; 27% of Brits eat at least one meal a day on their own.

The UK’s love of cookery programmes is still on the rise, yet 42% have a ‘can’t cook won’t cook’ attitude.

Ikea has reported a 10% year-on-year increase in dining-table sales, revealing a growing aspiration to host at home.