Y’all know I’m an IKEA fan.
I didn’t have strong feelings one way or another about the Swedish furniture behemoth until I went to a midsummer smorgasbord dinner a few years ago and met all kinds of Swedes and suecophiles. Then I went to Sweden on an ancestry trip last year and immediately hit IKEA for a taste (and feel) of my Scandinavian homeland.
The Round Rock IKEA is hosting that midsummer smorgasbord again on Friday. The first seating is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and then the restaurant staff will reset the buffet to start again from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $12.99 for adults and $2.99 for kids if you’re an IKEA Family member. (It’s free to join and will save you $4 per ticket to the dinner. You can buy tickets ahead of time at ikea.com/us/en/store/round_rock/activities.)
If you love cured salmon, rye bread, cheesy potatoes, meatballs and lingonberry soda, you should check out this dinner sometime. The menu is bigger than what IKEA usually offers, and you’ll get a chance to chat with all kinds of Swedish-loving folks from Central Texas.
The IKEA news this week that caught my eye, however, has nothing to do with tomorrow’s dinner.
The company announced this week that it is hosting a startup competition for entrepreneurs and innovators who align with IKEA’s mission of combining high-quality, purposeful design and sustainability.
From the website:
IKEA Bootcamp is about collaborating and co-building with startups. We are looking for startups to help us solve the IKEA ‘Big Problems’ around being truly affordable for the many people, reaching and interacting with the many, and enabling a positive impact on the planet, people and society.
Most of the startups that enter will likely have ties to home goods, but IKEA is specifically seeking food innovators. On the site, they suggest areas such as urban farming (think in-home aquaponics or vertical farm systems), VR food tasting, new ingredients (like maybe Austin’s Aketta?), sustainable sourcing, food conservation and healthy eating.
The winners will go to Älmhult, Sweden from September to December this year to work with the IKEA team and other startups to build and improve their ideas. Interested? Check out ikeabootcamp.rainmaking.io to apply.