What does Ikea and the hospitality industry have to do with each other?

(26 /08 /2015)

Do you love to build stuff?  Are you a builder from scratch kind of person or more of a flat-pack Ikea genius?  And why am I blogging about building things when I’m more of a food-man?  Well I’m interested in the so-called “Ikea effect” that is particularly associated with self-assembly of flat-pack furniture and I was curious to see if it applies to the hospitality sector…

So what is this “Ikea effect” I hear you ask?  Basically, it’s the gratification you get from assembling something yourself…although you may be swearing black and blue at that flat pack box, once completed you feel a sense of pride or accomplishment and you then place a higher value on that item than one purchased fully assembled.

We see it all the time in furniture and household decorator items but it’s now a very big thing in food.  In every aisle, on almost every shelf in every grocery store, DIY food items are big business.  For example – cake mixes range from the easy to the ridiculously hard to prepare (although the pack claims “easy-to-make”) Adriano Zumbo macarons mixes.  Campbells does soup bases that allow you to create Moroccan, Asian and Italian soups like a pro.  And Maggi has been around for years with their create-a-meal kits to make dinner preparation a breeze!

And we’re now seeing new players – Hello Fresh is a great example of this.  This company picks and delivers specifically measured ingredients and recipes allowing you to create gourmet meals but without the hard work of sourcing and measuring ingredients.  It really is the flat-pack of meals!  So while this company is probably more about the convenience of creating meals, I really think this is a fine example of how the “Ikea effect” applies in our sector.  Imagine the pride you might feel, especially if you’re not a naturally gifted cook, of preparing and serving a tried and tested gourmet meal to a new date, your family or perhaps that boss you’re trying to impress!

So what do you think?  Do consumers want “easy meals” for convenience alone or do they want to really feel part of the process, to take pride in something they’ve created?  Is this something that can be taken further and applied in the restaurant setting?  I’ve seen it before – stone grills where you cook your steak to your liking at your own table – although I never really thought about the “Ikea effect” as such…I really just considered it a quirky way of getting consumers involved in their meal.

Tell me what you think – is the “Ikea effect” real in hospitality?  Is it something you’ve considered in your building your business and if so, how?  It’s not a principle I’ve ever considered and to be honest, I’m not sure how I might implement it so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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