Kuwait’s costly cafes

By Noor Abdulaziz

KUWAIT: Coffee culture in Kuwait is on the rise, and with it comes consequences in the market. In the beginning, it was a new start with specialty coffee that differentiated one brand from another. These coffee brands used specific tactics to increase their local consumer count. However, nowadays, almost half of these cafes share a somewhat identical menu with different price points — all of them unreasonably priced. Moreover, global markets are beginning to intertwine with these local coffee brands, and due to the expanding coffee market, one would think the prices would be rational; however, this is not the case.

“Cafes in Kuwait aren’t what they used to be. People used to go to their favorite coffee shop and order their usual drink of choice at a fair price. Nowadays, people look for ‘hotspots’ rather than places that offer good quality coffee. Initially, they would go for the coffee but would stay for the atmosphere,” avid coffee consumer Khaled said. “Recently, the focus has shifted towards social media and coffee places are now rated by how ‘Instagram-worthy’ they are, and cafes are taking this to their advantage by creating spaces grab the consumer’s attention, not to mention the seasonal trendy drinks and desserts that cost a fortune.

Well-known coffee brands use specific tactics to increase their local consumer count.

What’s funny is that people complain about the prices, but still buy them to sit around and take pictures for their socials. The aesthetic of the place almost justifies the mediocre menu — it makes up for it,” Khaled added. Another caffeine addict spoke about the cost of healthy beverages in Kuwait. “Going out for a matcha with friends in Kuwait costs an arm and a leg,” Aysha quipped. “Even the simple alteration of my milk of choice adds up to a quarter of the cost, and on top of that, it ends up tasting underwhelming at best.

Only several cafes offer it for the same price, and this does not encourage consumers to choose the healthier option, which could lead to an increase in the obesity rate in Kuwait. Some would justify this by saying that shipping said products from across the globe is what makes them expensive. However, you can easily find similar products in local markets,” she pointed out. A former business owner gave insights on what it’s really like to survive in the market. “The reason is that teas such as matcha and sakura are very expensive.

Coffee places are now rated by how ‘Instagram-worthy’ they are.

For example, if imported from Singapore, it will notch up an additional cost. So, that could be the only justification why these products are obscenely costly, because we can’t find them locally,” he said. “Sometimes, business owners deal with greedy suppliers. For example, they’d sell some products at a high price, which forces the owner to mark up to make a profit and stay in business to make up for the astronomical rent and pay fair salaries to employees.

Kuwait has a competitive market, and every owner is trying to stay in business without losing customers or money,” he explained. With cafes being the main source of entertainment in Kuwait, new coffeeshops are opening daily, which means that chances of this market deflating are nearly impossible. However, it is important for these café owners to comprehend that quality is much more important than quantity in terms of selling good products at a practical price.

The post Kuwait’s costly cafes appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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