"It doesn't make any sense that the coffee market has grown. There is a truck of people who want to run a cafe." (Park, president of a cafe in Mugyo-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul) "There are about 10 cafes around my house, but I only go to a couple of places." (A, a citizen of Dangsan-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul)
Although the domestic coffee industry has grown significantly in appearance, with coffee imports exceeding 1 trillion won for the first time last year, the ups and downs of individual businesses operating small cafes remain. Unlike large franchises, individual operators are struggling due to intensifying competition due to the opening of new stores, rising raw material prices such as coffee beans, and rising labor costs. One cafe has changed its president three times in a year due to repeated start-ups and closures of private businesses.
Cafes flooded five autonomous districts, including Eunpyeong-gu, Geumcheon-gu, and Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, where the Seoul Economy visited on the 25th. There were not only large franchise stores that could be seen familiarly, but also many private cafes that showed off their unique interiors. There were even many places where three or four cafes lined up in a block. In fact, despite the COVID-19 situation, the number of coffee operators is increasing rapidly. According to the National Tax Service's statistics on the top 100 living industries, as of December last year, there were 83,363 "coffee beverage" stores nationwide, up 19,000 from 62,278 in January 2020, when COVID-19 first began in Korea.
The problem is that coffee demand does not increase as much as individual coffee businesses that are rapidly increasing. Ko Sang-soo, chairman of the National Cafe President's Cooperative, said, "The biggest reason for the closure of the business is the rapid increase in the overall demand for coffee," adding, "After COVID-19 started, other industries closed about 10% but new startups increased by more than 20%."
According to the commercial district analysis service of our village store in Seoul, about half (48.8%) of coffee and beverage stores in Seoul were closed within three years as of the fourth quarter of 2021. Kim (48), who has been running a cafe in Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul for more than five years, said, "With the creation of local cafes around us, sales are on the decline," adding, "Since the number of people drinking coffee per day cannot suddenly increase, we end up sharing."
Private businesses that run small cafes also said that rising prices of raw materials such as coffee beans are also a problem. In other words, large franchise cafes reduce the burden of original costs by raising coffee prices or purchasing coffee beans together, but small private cafes are difficult to find a way out. Namgung (38), who runs a cafe in Yangpyeong-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, said, "The price of coffee beans rose 4,000 won to 5,000 won per kg last year and early this year. The same goes for flour and butter, he said. "I thought about raising the price of coffee, but I couldn't actually post it because regulars would leave."
Owners who run the cafe advised, "Keep in mind that the barriers to entry into the cafe start-up are never low." Na (42), the owner of a cafe who has experience in closing business, said, "Most prospective founders work." I think I'm entering the cafe industry without any worries," he said adding, "The cafe market is an easy place to start work but difficult to succeed." Prospective entrepreneurs should start their businesses after thorough commercial district analysis and price positioning."반응형