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