Second social project café opens doors

The new Ziferblat coffee shop, Manchester
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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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