March 03, 2016 12:03
Whether studying or chatting with friends, youngsters are spending much more time in coffee shops these days.
"Libraries are stuffy and it's so quiet that I feel bad even yawning," said a 23-year-old university student. "But in coffee shops, I feel cozy yet open, and there is an appropriate level of noise so I find it easier to concentrate."
The number of coffee shops has risen from 2,305 in 2007 to 18,000 in 2013 and 49,600 by the end of last year nationwide. That's more than the number of convenience stores, totaling around 30,000.
To respond to such customers, some coffee shops near university areas offer study zones with desks. Yet there has been some pushback against customers who linger for too long.
One coffee shop in Guro, southwest Seoul does not allow lingering customers after 7 p.m. during weekdays and after 2 p.m. on weekends.
"We risk losing customers but we have to do that. Otherwise, we cannot have new customers, causing sales to drop," the owner of the coffee shop said.
Another nearby café owner also said his profits have also fallen due to customers who stay all day. "In order to maintain a certain profit margin, we need regular table turnover in peak times," he said.
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