by Jeongmae Choi
- The vast majority of Koreans eat meals at home, supplemented by occasional lunches in restaurants, food delivery or takeout. Now a new way of eating meals has appeared: apartment canteens.
- SK Leaders View, a high-end apartment building in Daegu, began offering a daily breakfast buffet in 2011. Both Korean and Western dishes are on offer, and the service gets rave reviews from residents. Each meal costs just 4,000 won ($3.50) and is charged to residents’ monthly apartment maintenance bill.
- Urban Farmer, a townhouse-style complex in Paju, runs a buffet restaurant for residents. It offers healthy and tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinners made with organic ingredients, and charges less than 4,500 won ($3.90) per meal.
- In-building canteens seem to be a rapidly emerging trend. Commodo Estate and The Blue 2, two apartment complexes currently under construction in Busan, also plan to offer a breakfast service.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- To compete and to attract customers, real estate developers have been piling on amenities. Beyond just swimming pools/saunas, gyms and party rooms, many of them have included playgrounds, senior lounges, movie theaters and virtual-golf rooms.
- But meal service is the most significant addition to date, and has the potential to be a game changer in the housing industry.
- On-site restaurants significantly reduce household chores by relieving residents the stress of grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up afterwards. It’s little wonder that homemakers and working moms living in ordinary apartments and houses are envious.
- Aging-in-place seniors and busy professionals, two groups for whom daily cooking is difficult, are highly attracted to amenities that don’t involve extra travel and that make their lives easier.