Seoul to open chef incubator to help millennials and Gen Z start food businesses

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : March 25, 2022, 13:36 Updated : June 23, 2023, 01:13

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- Seoul City will start a chef incubation project to nurture trainees in their 20s and 30s who wish to start their own food businesses. Through the free, four-month incubation project, young South Koreans will learn how to operate restaurants, create recipes and use delivery platforms to accelerate sales. 
Due to strict government social distancing guidelines prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the average monthly sales of domestic restaurants were 27.3 million won ($22,421), down 16.5 percent from 2019. Currently, South Korea regulates the number of private gatherings to eight people each. All restaurants, bars and coffee shops must close at 11 p.m. but food takeaways and deliveries are not regulated.
Meanwhile, some 17.3 trillion worth of transactions were made via online delivery services in 2020, up 78.6 percent from 9.7 trillion won a year ago. According to a survey of 1,050 restaurant owners conducted by Korea Food Service Industry Research, about five out of 10 restaurant owners have considered closing their businesses. Government data showed the number of startups increased by 15.5 percent in 2020 from a year ago while accommodation and restaurant businesses decreased by 1.3 percent.
Seoul said that a total of 15 people in their 20s and 30s will be incubated at the center which is about the size of 50 tennis courts from May 2022. At the center, students will learn how to operate their businesses through various delivery platforms. They will also study how to operate various types of restaurants including Korean, Western and bars. The training center will house a kitchen, tasting room and photo studio.  
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