Restaurants, cafes introducing self-services.
Amid the growing minimum wage, more restaurants and cafes are transforming into cashierless stores to reduce labor costs.
Even, some buffet restaurants have introduced a system allowing customers to clear away dishes they used instead of raising prices.
This year, the Moon Jae-in administration raised the minimum wage by 16.4 percent to 7,530 won ($7) -- the biggest increase in two decades -- to boost private consumption and narrow the income gap.
However, the policy is igniting a backlash from small- and mid-sized firms that can ill afford higher labor expenses, which is leading them to close at night.
According to the foodservice industry, Thursday, self-service initially began around university towns, which is one of the most price-sensitive places. However, it is currently gaining popularity among office workers, as well.
A coffee chain that only takes orders through self-service kiosks is fast emerging in the market thanks to its "relatively" cheap prices. It sells a cup of Americano at 900 won. Its cafe latte and cafe mocha also cost 1,800 won and 2,200 won, respectively.
"Self-service kiosks help offer cheaper coffee and have price competitiveness," said a cafe owner.
A food court at a media building in Digital Media City in Seoul runs two self-service kiosks for some 20 stores, while one at the IFC mall in Yeouido also has two kiosks.
According to the owners, kiosks enable them to receive orders faster, helping more customers order food during busy hours such as lunch time.
Self-service is not limited to receiving orders.
Shinsegae Food, the food manufacturer of retail giant Shinsegae, has operated a system allowing customers to return trays after they finish eating at one of its 14 Olbaan restaurants.
After reviewing customer responses, Shinsegae plans to consider increasing the service.
E-land's Ashley has also introduced the tray return system at its 13 stores since late last year.
It says such a system can help customers enjoy their food service at reasonable prices.
Convenience store chains are most aggressive in introducing the kiosk self-service.
BGF Retai, the operator of the nation's largest convenience store chain CU, introduced an unmanned shop "CU Buy-Self" last November, while Emart24, Shinsegae Group's convenience store chain, has run six unmanned stores since last September.
Despite cost benefits, such developments in the retail sector are fueling concerns over job security, and fewer employment opportunities for workers in the lowest-paying jobs.