SEOUL (Reuters) – Chef Youm Jung-phil plans to close his restaurant in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district this month, worn down by the rising cost of labor and rent as well as declines in the number of customers eating in.
Instead Youm, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, has opted to sell his avocado burgers and bagels by delivery only, renting a 16.5 square meter kitchen space from Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens.
“I am anxious every day. I can’t sleep well because this is not something I have done before,” said Youm, who was approached by CloudKitchens.
“But the risks are low and I’ll have the opportunity to experiment with various menus without high cost,” he said, adding his rent will fall by roughly two-thirds.
The world’s No. 4 market for online food orders, South Korea punches far above its population size in terms of sheer numbers of restaurants and spending on food deliveries.
That, plus a near 30% rise in the minimum…
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