Ziferblat in Manchester, is a kind of cafe that charges you six pence a minute for the time you spend there. Customers can consume as much food, drink and wi-fi in that time as they like. And believe it or not it has taken off!
Ever felt you’ve overstayed your welcome in a cafe, by reading, working or surfing the web while hugging the latte you bought two hours ago? Pay-per-minute cafes could be the answer. Ziferblat, the first UK branch of a Russian chain, has opened in England where “everything is free inside except the time you spend there”. The fee: 6p a minute.
Ziferblat means clock face in Russian and German (Zifferblatt). The idea is guests take an alarm clock from the cupboard on arrival and note the time, then keep it with them, before, quite literally, clocking out at the end. There’s no minimum time. Guests can also get stuck into the complimentary snacks (biscuits, fruit, vegetables), or prepare their own food in the kitchen; they can help themselves to coffee from the professional machine, or have it made for them. There’s even a piano – an idea that could seem brilliant or terrible, depending on who takes the seat. The concept began in Russia and a small chain is now growing in the UK. The first one opened in London two and a half years ago. With a revamped, more spacious design, it is in Liverpool and Manchester that the business model has really taken off. There are now multiple branches in the cities and more about to roll out.
We offer a £18 day cap so you can stay as long as you like!
Free cake, super fast Wi-Fi & lots of plug points.
Hello Coworking Heaven! pic.twitter.com/RbYWeLfj76
— Ziferblat Edge St (@ZiferblatEdgeSt) October 21, 2016
Ziferblat is a place where you can do as you please. Like an extension of your own home; Work, Study, Relax, Explore, Play, Attend Events, Eat Cake, Have a Brew. Their doors are open to everyone. Each Ziferblat guest becomes a micro-tenant of the space, responsible for it and able to influence the culture of the cafe.
@ZiferblatEdgeSt Enjoyed my first visit at St Pauls Square Liverpool today. A great space for co-working, good coffee too 🙂
— Colin Cooper (@CCooperTech) October 21, 2016
You are welcomed by the Ziferblat hosts and able to work with them to help create, supply and develop the concept to shape the space to your work, to your leisure, with your friends. Everything is free inside except the time you spend there. They charge 6 pence per minute with a 5 hour cap and that’s all. If you want to spend the day with them, your spend will be capped at 5 hours and the rest of your time is free! By paying for your time you’ll be making a donation towards growing this idea.
With hostels, hotels and cafes around the world often filled with people either working remotely or enjoying some downtime online, the market for expansion is certainly there. The “coffice”, we’re told, is the way of the future and at Ziferblat you can also use dedicated meeting rooms with the 6p a minute per person charge comparing well with alternatives.
What do you think? Does the idea appeal? Does £3.60 (€4.10) an hour sound like good value? Would you feel more relaxed, or more under pressure with a clock by your side?
Should Starbucks and Costas be scared? Let us know in the comments below.