New Café Asks Customers to Pay in Data

Providence, Rhode Island, is home to the first-ever North America outpost of the Shiru Café, a chain of coffee shops that asks college students to pay for beverages with their personal information. In exchange for free coffee, students must give the café their names, phone numbers, email addresses, majors, date of birth, and professional interests. To receive a cup to go, students and faculty only have to pay $1. The café can then contact students on behalf of corporate sponsors through logos, apps, digital advertisements on screens in stores, mobile devices, signs, surveys, and even through barista communication. Shiru also hosts company events, such as recruitment sessions for JP Morgan.

Faculty and staff simply have to show their ID to receive a free cup, without divulging personal information, but patrons without a college ID will not be served.