Second social project café opens doors

12 February, 2015

The new Ziferblat coffee shop, Manchester

The UK’s second café that charges customers by time and not purchases has opened in Manchester.

Ziferblat is a Russian concept that first opened in the UK in east London’s Shoreditch with unlimited coffee and food, Wi-Fi and games – all customers pay for is the time they spend there. On entry they are given an old-fashioned alarm clock, which they return at the end of their stay, paying 5p per minute, which equates to £3 an hour. This is an increase from the initial charge of 3p a minute in Shoreditch.

Ziferblat means ‘clockface’ in Russian and was first launched in Moscow in 2011 by Ivan Meetin. There are now several around Europe and there is a UK focus of opening one in every university town.

Gareth Harold, head of operations, told The Telegraph: “When you go into an establishment where you eat or drink, you expect a transaction, you purchase something that enables you to occupy that space for a certain amount of time. Here, you can kill time and you don’t actually have to eat or drink at all if you don’t want to – but if you do, you can help yourself.

“The idea is you’re paying for the space, you’re not paying for what you consume.”

Margins are small – customers often drink a cup of coffee in 10 minutes and leave, paying 50p.

The company’s mission statement describes the concept as a social project and not a business model.

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