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Can you build a café and restaurant with shop fittings as a base?

The answer is yes, and we will describe it a little more later in the article.
Today, ICANDERs are in two locations in Sweden, MOOD galleria in Stockholm and ICA Maxi at Visby, which is also the first establishment in an ICA store. The concept was developed by Mats Bergvall, concept developer at ICA. Food and drink concept is developed by David Johansson. ROL Retail Concepts has been involved in developing furnishings for the two establishments.

Henrik Stahre, project manager at ROL Retail Concepts, says that it has been a very exciting project and that it is fun to be part of the development phase of a concept that is so innovative but at the same time in a classic style. A café, restaurant, grocery store that meets in one place and combines elements from a classic country store and a modern restaurant.

Today Mats work part time as Restaurant manager at the first ICANDERs and part time as concept developer at ICA. We ask Mats Bergvall where the inspiration for the concept came from. “The inspiration comes from ICA's history. The concept contains many details that have been taken from or inspired by ICA's concepts and products over the years”. One detail, to take an example, is a dragon hanging from the ceiling. Long ago, the merchant often had a dragon hanging above the cash desk to bring good luck to the business.” In the concept, you will find a shop, a café, and a restaurant on the same area. Walls and much of the interior of ICANDERs are based on ICA´s store interiors as a base, which is then complemented with wooden surfaces in pleasant colors and mirrors to create a pleasant and warm environment for the customer.

We talk to Marcus Lilja who is marketing manager at ICA Maxi Visby to get a little more information about the ICANDERs concept which is adjacent to the ICA Maxi store in Visby. What is ICANDERs? “It is our coffee and food bar. We wanted to create something new when we rebuilt our café and be able to provide a larger selection than before, but also offer a new environment and experience. Without compromising on our previous offer with good coffee and good prices.”

What is special and extra important in this concept? “Several parts, to mention one thing, we have managed to create a unique environment that allows you to get a little "break" when you have a coffee. You can disconnect the sound from packages that are picked up and dropped off and shopping carts that roll forward. Instead, listen to some good music and enjoy your cup of coffee. We have also initiated several local collaborations into ICANDERs, for example a large collaboration with Gute Rosteri, supplier of all our coffee. We have developed our own coffee roost which we also sell in the store. We take care of leftover ingredients from the store and use when we cook in the restaurant. This is to reduce food waste and become more sustainable. This is something we will develop and focus even more on,” says Marcus Lilja.

How has the concept been received by the market in Visby? “We have had a fantastic start,” says Marcus.
Why did ICA Maxi in Visby choose to invest in this concept?
“Because we had an idea and vision for the environment we wanted to create for our customers, and we wanted to achieve a more sustainable offer combining the grocery store and restaurant. We connect a dining experience and our classic coffee offer with good buns and cakes that we make in our bakery from scratch.”

In what way do you think ICANDERs and Maxi ICA complement each other and contribute to a better customer experience? “ICANDERs complements the store by showcasing and offering a food experience and the food knowledge we have in the store. We prepare a lot of the food and cook it in our own kitchen, which is also the basis for our production of sauces and other food that you can buy and bring with you. It helps to create and contribute to the food experience and joy we want to create in the store. In addition, ICANDERs contributes to the practical part of being able to easily solve a need for a quick lunch or dinner to be able to take with you as a take-away when you are just shopping and thinking about what to eat for dinner or are simply too tired to cook at home.”

Do you want to say something about ROL Retail Concepts contribution to the establishment of the ICANDERs concept in Visby? “Good collaboration and it is inspiring to find solutions on the shelving system we use in the store. It is the same system we use for our shelves in the store as you will sit on in our restaurant.”