Monday November 14
We are just in time for the breakfast - coming from Rotterdam we have to rush to the restaurant to be the last ones to quickly collect the different items at IKEA's restaurant in Kanaleneiland. I try to copy the other people around me, because I am not jet inaugurated in the ritual. Fortunately there are many people who perform the different tasks (getting a tray, getting a plate, picking a bun and a croissant, grabbing butter, cheese and jam, getting an empty cup, paying €1,- at the counter and filling the cup at the coffee machine) fluently and without hesitation.
This first morning we try to take in as much as possible of our surroundings - everything is new for us and the space is much bigger than I expected. I think there are places for over five hundred people in the restaurant. We think there are people eating here everyday, but will we be able to recognize them?
The breakfast makes me think of hotels and isn't very tasty, but also not bad. Although the breakfast is dirt cheap, it contains an free range egg, fair trade coffee and ecological tea. How can they do it for so little money?! The breakfast public is very diverse, there are couples, small groups, a lot of families and some people alone. The people seem to be from different backgrounds. Around eleven most of the breakfast eaters left and the restaurant is more quiet now. The public transforms into mostly white, elderly couples who order apple pie. These are the furniture buyers.
There is not a lot of staff in the restaurant - one man is responsible for driving the carts full of trays to the kitchen. If we duplicated the IKEA uniform and started working here, would they even notice it?
This first day the most important question is how we can look at the IKEA. It will be our host this week, but how can we get to know it better? As soon as we enter the building we feel lured into a world of very affordable breakfasts, cleaver design and nice practicalities.