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Benny – Department head IKEA restaurant, Belgium
Benny started working at IKEA in 1989 as a cook in the IKEA restaurant. “I had spent several years in the catering industry prior to joining IKEA. The hours were dreadful – I worked mostly evenings and weekends,” he says, “This is not good for family life!”

He first joined IKEA as a kitchen chef and noticed an immediate improvement in life quality. “Although IKEA was very new in Belgium, I was aware that the hours were a lot more sociable, which is rare in the catering business.”

After several years working in the IKEA restaurant, Benny became the head of his department. That means, as well as heading up the restaurant in the Wirijk store, he is also in charge of purchasing food for the five IKEA stores in Belgium. “Not only am I responsible for the co-workers I am also part of a team that chooses local dishes for the restaurants in Belgium,” he explains. “If we choose steak and chips, it’s my job to go out into the local market and negotiate a good price for the raw materials.”

Benny has come a long way in his 15 years at IKEA. He attributes his career path to extensive catering knowledge, his thirst for learning and the opportunities that are available to him at IKEA. He also thrives in the IKEA corporate culture. “It is very important for me to feel good in my work place. In Belgium we call our colleagues ‘IKEANS’. That means you are a member of the IKEA family.”

His hectic schedule is a slightly more serious matter, however. “I am very busy at the moment,” he confesses, “the new catalogue has just come out and the weather is bad. This means that the store is full of visitors.” Before rushing off to handle more pressing matters in the busy IKEA restaurant, he has one last piece of advice for anyone wishing to join IKEA as a chef, “You must be a very hard worker!”
Meet the co-workers
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Department head IKEA restaurant, Belgium
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