Soaring Prices Drive Office Workers to Convenience Store Meals

  • By Kim Ji-seop

    April 19, 2023 09:43

    More and more office workers grab their lunch in a convenience store as inflation and high interest rates put restaurant lunches out of their reach. 
    According to one credit card company, the average transaction price in Korean, Chinese and Japanese restaurants rose by W2,000-W3,000 on-year in the first quarter of the year.
    The average transaction in Korean restaurants rose 14.1 percent to W25,323, in Chinese restaurants 10 percent to W21,244 and in Japanese restaurants 11.1 percent to W35,107 (US$1=W1,319). 
    But the average bill in convenience stores fell 3.8 percent over the same period to W5,873 although their overall sales increased. Convenience stores sell affordable to-go foods like W990 hamburgers, W2,900 pizzas and W2,000 lunch boxes. 
    At GS Retail, lunch box sales surged more than 40 percent in the first quarter. The proportion of customers buying more than two lunch boxes at a time rose from three to eight percent, which suggests many workers clubbed together for their lunch.
    Meanwhile, drug stores saw the biggest decline in the average credit card transaction, down 11.5 percent to W10,179, largely because fewer people buy coronavirus test kits and face masks.  
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