The Café: The Place That Not Ev­ery Young­ster Can Go To

The Kurdish Globe - - LAST PAGE - Zakaria Muhammed

Many peo­ple have noted that the cof­fee at cafes seems to be ex­tremely pricey, es­pe­cially when com­pared to the cost of mak­ing cof­fee at home. The cafes are usu­ally vis­ited by those who have ap­point­ments with their friends, rel­a­tives, and some­times busi­ness peo­ple.

Drink­ing a cup of cof­fee may cost eight times more than a cup of cof­fee at a tra­di­tional cof­fee house in the down­town mar­kets. This pre­vents cer­tain peo­ple and stu­dents with low wages from vis­it­ing the ex­pen­sive cafes fre­quently.

“Lately, I have been dis­tant from some close friends of mine be­cause I can’t go to the cafes ev­ery­day to meet them. If I drink a cup of cap­puc­cino in Costa Cafe, for in­stance, and use In­ter­net, I have to pay at least 10,000 Iraqi di­nars,” said Sar­baz Ka­reem, a col­lege stu­dent

The num­ber of ex­pen­sive cafes is on the rise in the Kur­dish Re­gion, es­pe­cially in the Kur­dish cap­i­tal city of Er­bil. Each su­per­mar­ket has more than two or three cafes.

Some of the cafes are lo­cated in the busi­ness ar­eas where most of for­eign or­ga­ni­za­tions and com­pa­nies based. The main things that en­tice peo­ple into pay­ing visits to the cafes is the avail­abil­ity of in­ter­net ser­vice and dif­fer­ent types of cof­fees and teas.

Sh­wan Am­jad, who had his IPad in hand, read­ing posts on his face book ac­count, says, “I come here to en­joy my spare time with my friends. It's bet­ter to be here than go­ing to crowded lo­cal mar­kets for no rea­son.”

When asked if he thinks the cafes are ex­pen­sive, Am­jad said “It is very ex­pen­sive, but, for­tu­nately, I can af­ford to eat and drink here be­cause my fa­ther is a busi­ness­man.”

He sym­pa­thizes with those who can’t af­ford pay­ing for a cup of cof­fee in a cafe. He thinks the govern­ment should at least open some cafes for stu­dents with cheaper prices.

The own­ers of the cafés in­di­cate that they put prices on the food and drink by them­selves and they are not re­quired to go by any price re­stric­tions. They say there are a num­ber of rea­sons why cof­fee at cafes tends to be so ex­pen­sive.

Ac­cord­ing to Ahamad Ab­bas, the owner of Nice Café in Er­bil, one of the main rea­sons why cof­fee at cafes is ex­pen­sive is be­cause it ac­tu­ally costs a lot to make. The cafe must pay staff to make it, and they must also cover over­head like rent, elec­tric­ity, in­ter­net ser­vice, and wa­ter fees.

Ab­bas said many peo­ple also ex­pect a great deal of va­ri­ety when they or­der cof­fee at cafes, and this is also ex­pen­sive. It is much cheaper to of­fer only a few types of cof­fee, but most cafes of­fer a huge as­sort­ment, all of which must be made fresh and kept well stocked by staff.

“Many cus­tomers spend hours in a cafe, es­pe­cially one's which of­fers wire­less In­ter­net, and these cus­tomers may pur­chase a min­i­mal amount of food and drinks, of­ten stick­ing to the cafe's stated min­i­mum for ta­ble oc­cu­pancy, if there is one. When turnover in a cafe is low, the cafe at­tempts to make up for it by pric­ing its food and drink,” Ab­bas ex­plained

Even with all the ex­cuses the cafe run­ners make, the stu­dent Ka­reem says the price of food and drinks are still ex­tremely ex­pen­sive and need to be fixed.

A view of Mado Café in Er­bil.

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