IKEA Shanghai's Xuhui store is trying once again to take back control of its canteen, which has been turned into a matchmaking corner for the elderly.
The latest measure - "order food first, then take a seat" - was launched after customers complained the elderly were occupying tables for excessive periods, leaving other diners unable to be seated.
The elderly were also accused of talking too loudly, bringing in their own food, and even quarreling or fighting, the company said.
Over the past few years, many single senior citizens have come to the canteen on Tuesdays and Thursdays to meet friends and perhaps find a potential partner.
Its spacious room, offer of free coffee, and easy accessibility via public transport make the canteen an ideal meeting place.
Most elderly people in attendance accepted the changed situation with good grace.
About 60 of them stood around tables outside the eating area, while others bought food to get inside the eating area.
A 37-year-old diner, surnamed Jin, is uncertain how effective IKEA's new measure will, as "there are always people who keep occupying the tables just for chatting, whether youngsters or elderly."