Shiru Cafe is a corporate-sponsored coffee shop that takes students' personal information in exchange for free drinks, helping its partners collect data on young consumers

Shiru Cafe, a Japanese based cafe now operating at Brown University, does not accept cash or card as payment for their goods—only personal information. Instead of standard monetary payments, Shiru Cafe charges its customers, who must show student ID to receive service, information like name, age, major, interests and email address for goods.

The information is distributed to the sponsors who are teamed up with Shiru Cafe, who can then use the information to promote their brands via digital ads, surveys and several other avenues. Shiru Cafe is exclusive to college students and faculty and currently has its only U.S. location in Providence, Rhode Island.

So far the response to the cafe has been positive, with students willing to give their information in exchange for a free drink. The cafe further protects privacy by only releasing general, aggregate data, like student majors and expected graduation years, rather than individual student identities.

Shiru Cafe


Lead image: Shiru Caf via Facebook

Shiru Cafe, a Japanese based cafe now operating at Brown University, does not accept cash or card as payment for their goods—only personal information. Instead of standard monetary payments, Shiru Cafe charges its customers, who must show student ID to receive service, information like name, age, major, interests and email address for goods.

The information is distributed to the sponsors who are teamed up with Shiru Cafe, who can then use the information to promote their brands via digital ads, surveys and several other avenues. Shiru Cafe is exclusive to college students and faculty and currently has its only U.S. location in Providence, Rhode Island.