Chances are, you have already gotten used to the reality that in Korea you can increasingly find unmanned stores. In pars articles, I talked about where unmanned payment system is common. However, do you know there are even coffee shops that operate without staff? The chain I will introduce you to today is called Youin’s Coffee.
Youin’s Coffee is a chain of coffee shops that are mainly located in the south of the Korean peninsula. There are cafes in the cities of Suncheon, Yeosu, Gwangyang, and Gwangju.
Each location operates 24 hours a day. These working hours became possible to achieve due to the fact that there is no barista or cashier. The owner of this company can save on payroll costs since he does not need to hire a large number of line employees because all processes are automated.
At a certain time, cleaners come to do their job, as well as a worker who stocks new products. There is no need for someone to be inside all the time. Many cameras are installed in the space so that if necessary, it is easy to monitor the situation.
How to Order
All instructions are in Korean, so it may be a little difficult for some people, but you can always use a translator or the instructions that I will write here 🙂 By following it, you can avoid mistakes while buying and not pay twice, as happened to me.
1) Near the entrance there is a vending machine where you need to choose a drink. The options are not so diverse, only 16 items are available. Probably a small assortment is due to the fact that not everything can be made only with the machine.
2) After choosing a drink, you need to make a payment. Payment is only possible with a bank card.
3) To the right of the pay machine, there are two others. One of them has a picture of the cup, where, obviously, you can take a cup, which appears only after payment.
4) Then, you need to put the cup on the third machine, where it will be filled with ice.
5) Once you finish the previous steps, put it in the very first machine where you make the payment. You don’t need to press anything, the sensors will work automatically and start filling everything with the selected drink. Be sure to wait until the end.
6) All the most difficult things have already been done. You just have to take a lid, a straw, and tissues from the next table.
Everything is ready!
Please note that you need to do everything quickly. If, after payment, you do not put your cup for a drink in the very first machine for a long time, then everything will be reset and returned to the main menu. This problem happened to me because I spent a long time figuring out what I need to do.
For such cases, a sticker is on the machine with a mobile phone number, so you can contact them and report a problem so that you can get a refund. Everything went well. They answered me almost immediately and returned the money to my card.
It was a new and unusual experience for me, I liked that everything was automated. To maintain tidiness, reminders are stuck on each table that everyone returns chairs behind the table and throws out the trash.
By saving on personnel costs, the company can keep prices low. The highest price for a drink is 2,900 Won at this cafe. Among the drawbacks, I would single out that you don’t know who to ask in case of some inconvenience, for example, too high/low temperature inside or very loud music.
Also, because of the limitations of machine functions, the menu is not as diverse as in other coffee shops. However, there are ice cream and snacks that partially compensate for this disadvantage. You need to pay at a separate terminal.
If there is no desire to drink any special drinks, then Youin’s Coffee can be a great place. In addition, the cafe is open around the clock, which is especially important during exams.
You can easily find the closest location nearest to you with a quick search on Naver or Kakao Maps. Just copy and paste ‘유인스커피’ into the search box.
Would you like to visit such a cafe and how often would you go to it? Do you think that in the future all coffee shops will operate in a similar way, without humans?