Korea has become known to global tourists as a country that never sleeps, with stores opening late into the night. But an increasing number of franchises are putting a stop to their round-the-clock services, reports said Sunday.
Experts attribute the trend to increased labor costs following a hike in the minimum wage, which went into effect on Jan. 1.
Fast-food chain McDonald’s has reportedly stopped 24-hours services at 10 of its stores in Korea since last December.
McDonald’s Wirye Newtown branch in Gyeonggi Province’s Hanam has been closed from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. since last November.
Out of the 440 McDonald’s stores in Korea, some 300 are currently open 24 hours.
Burger King has also stopped operating 24 hours at its Jongno-gu Office, Chungmuro Station, Nakseongdae and Chonnam National University branches, which now close from midnight to 9 a.m.
Local fast-food chain Lotteria has also halted round-the-clock services at its Hopyeong branch in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, and its Anjung branch in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
Fewer convenience stores will also open late at night in Korea, the reports said.
“The burden of labor costs has grown due to an increase in the minimum wage,” Kye Sang-hyuk, head of an association of convenience store owners, told local media. “Stores that have suffered losses for several months during late-night hours are requesting to halt all-night services.”
Furthermore, new stores entering into contracts with local convenience store brand Emart 24 are increasingly declining to stay open all night.
Last August, 28.6 percent of new convenience stores operated 24 hours. However, in December, only 9.6 percent of newly opened convenience stores said they would open all night.
By Rumy Doo and news reports (email@example.com