The dining and bar industry in Korea was in a bigger slump than the aftermath of 2008 global financial crisis last year faced with fast changing lifestyles from demographic factors on top of protracted economic slowdown.
According to the Statistics Korea on Wednesday, output by restaurant and bar industry contracted 3.1 percent from January to November, compared with the year-ago period. The fall was the biggest since the office began compiling such data in 2000 and larger than 2.4 percent recorded in 2009 in the wake of global financial meltdown.
The sector has been in the doldrums for three years in a row. Output shrank 1.8 percent on year in 2015 and 0.8 percent in 2016.
Koreans with increasing single-person households are eating and drinking out less, preferring to eat at home with take-outs or ready-made meals. The dining industry also has been hit hard by the anti-graft law that bans government officials, journalists, and teachers from being treated with meals beyond 30,000 won per dish.
Korean retirees still favor opening up a diner with their retirement money. As of 2015, there were 473,600 restaurants in the country to become the largest category in business community. Bars and cafes came next with 183,500 establishments.
By Kim In-oh and Cho Jeehyun
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