Ziferblat is London’s first pay-per-minute cafe. Based on a Russian chain where “everything is free, except the time you spend drinking your cup o’ tea”, the new social concept turns out te be very welcomed by the inhabitants of East London hipster walhalla Shoreditch.
At Ziferblat (which means ‘clock face’ in Russian and German), guests can consume as much as they want, as long as they pay 3 pence (5 euro cents) per minute while they’re inside. When customers enter the cafe, they take a clock from the cupboard and note the time, then keep it with them before clocking out at the end. There’s no minimum time. Guests can help themselves with the available food and beverages or prepare their own food in the kitchen. There’s even a piano — an idea that could either turn out brilliant or terrible, depending on who takes the seat.
Founder Ivan Mitin is very happy the cafe turns out to be so successful in London. “Londoners are more prepared for such a concept — they understand the idea instantly. It’s funny to see people queueing here to wash their dishes. It’s not obligatory, but it’s appreciated. They even wash each other’s dishes. It’s very social. We think of our guests as micro tenants, all sharing the same space.”
But is this business? Can this place generate enough revenue in London? If the concept stays successful, Ivan Mitin is looking to expand further. Next stop: New York.