High prices don't dampen coffee craze in KoreaUpdated: 2014-08-28 06:31:14 (KST)
"Look around and you won't have any trouble finding a place to grab a cup of coffee. But none have quite the presence that Starbucks has. Just across the street from where I'm standing, there's another Starbucks just as busy as this one."
Actually there are so many in Seoul,. 284 Starbucks coffee shops in the capital city.
That's more than you'll find in New York City, Shanghai, London or Seattle, where the company was founded.
So why are customers finding their way to a Starbucks?
"There are many items on the menu and a lot of Starbucks stores. They are easy to find, so that's why I continue coming."
"I like their brand image and the stores are clean compared to other coffee shops."
But enjoying the company's fresh brewed coffee comes with a higher price.
Customers are paying a premium for a cup of joe at Starbucks stores in Korea: on average 4 dollars and 85 cents.
That's nearly twice the amount customers pay in the United States.
For an americano, the data shows that Korea ranks SIXTH on the price list, behind countries like Poland and Greece.
As for the expensive mark-up for the same coffee drinks, Starbucks Korea declined to comment to Arirang News.
But according to Korean daily DongA Ilbo, Starbucks Korea says different operating costs and cultural factors are the reasons, and that using numbers may not be the best way to draw comparisons.
But do they justify higher prices? Well, perhaps.
When compared with other domestic coffee chains in the country, Starbucks' prices are on par with those found at domestic coffee chains.
It appears that Koreans, generally speaking, are willing to shell out a little extra for a cup of coffee, no matter where it comes from.
Connie Kim, Arirang News.
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