When you think of a cafe, your mind might instantly picture a Starbucks or a small local coffee shop that sells a variety of lattes and pastries. However, not all cafes around the world are filled with lo-fi music and the sounds of coffee brewing. In South Korea, there are places called "Study Cafes," which are perfectly designed for silently studying or working on assignments.
Here are 10 tips from Korean study cafes that you can take inspiration from:
1. Minimize background noise
One of the main things about study cafes is that not only do they provide a new environment for students/workers to use while completing assignments, but they also have no disturbing sounds. Some people look for places to study and work without any distractions, especially for those who are staying at dorms or in busy households. Unlike regular cafes, study cafes have no conversations between people so noise-cancelling headphones aren't necessary here. Additionally, since study cafes are designed for continuous silence and personal space, many students use study cafes during midterms and finals week.
2. Charge for time & environment
Study cafes often allow outside food and beverages, since many charge by the hour to occupy the space. Students usually bring light lunches or snacks when they visit study cafes because they tend to spend a couple of hours here. At study cafes, there is a separate room for eating and drinking so that those who are working aren't disturbed by chewing and slurping sounds. By bringing their own food and drinks, students can save money as well.
3. Create a variety of desks
At study cafes, there are a variety of desks that guests can choose from. There's booths, open tables, and closed desks for one person. Guests can choose any desks they like to use as long as they're available. Booths are usually used for those who have a lot of their belongings such as laptops, iPads, notebooks, binders, etc. Open tables are usually used for those who came with friends to study or work. Lastly, closed desks for one person who needs absolute focus. Closed desks have barriers in the front and on each side.
4. Offer options for use
In order to use study cafes, there are many different options regarding payment. You can choose the hourly use option, where you pay approximately $2 per hour. This option is best for those who don't come to study cafes often. There's also weekly use options, where you pay approximately $60 per week. The weekly use option is the best for those who come to study cafes at least three times a week and stay there for at least several hours each day. Lastly, there are cafes that offer a 100 hour use option, which costs approximately $260.
5. Stock some free snacks
Some study cafes allow guests to bring their own food and beverages, and many study cafes provide free drinks and snacks guests. Some study cafes also have hot water and instant coffee and tea for those want to make coffee or tea themselves. Consider offering low-cost snacks or beverages for free, along with a usual menu. You can also consider selling a "subscription" for coffee/tea to keep guests coming back to your space.
6. Reduce prices compared to regular cafes
Prices for study cafe beverages and food are much cheaper than those at regular cafes. At a regular cafe, a latte usually costs from $4 to $6 and pastries cost about $5. Study cafes only cost $2 per hour, and offer cheap food options. When it comes to study cafes, the environment is sold rather than just food. Guests can work for long periods of time because the cost of food is cheap.
7. Create a perfect place for working
Ever since COVID-19 hit, remote learning and working have been normalized throughout the world. At times where people feel isolated and frustrated staying at their homes due to multiple lockdowns and continued social distancing, study cafes could be the place they're looking for because people can easily focus at these places without the feeling of isolation and frustration.
8. Allow personal desk rental
One of the best things about study cafes is that guests can set up their own personalized spaces. For a certain amount of time, no one else would use those desks so guests can bring their personal belongings and store them if necessary. This can be useful for those who use study cafes often.
9. Have multiple wifis
Study cafes usually have multiple wifis for faster use. Having at least three different wifis at one place prevents guests from overusing one wifi and slowing it down. Setting up different wifis at one place ensures internet will not crash because there's more than one wifi to support the data use.
10. Install multiple outlets
At study cafes, multiple charging outlets are on each desk. Guests will need to use a variety of electronics, from laptops to iPads to phones. Having multiple charging outlets on each desk is quite helpful because no one has to worry about their devices dying.