Ziferblat is the first ever pay per minute café to open in London. The idea is based on the concept that everything is free, apart from the time you spend inside the café. Here we will provide information about the concept behind the café, as well as more details regarding the cost of spending time there.


The concept

Rather than charging customers for their drinks and snacks, Ziferblat charges them for the time they spend sitting in the café. The Russian chain of restaurants and cafes, believe their way of working could be the future of all cafes. It certainly stops people from using cafes’ resources for lengthy periods of time without buying anything! Ziferblat currently charges customers 3p per minute.

About Ziferblat

The aptly named Ziferblat, which means clock face in Russian and German, has already opened ten branches in Russia over the past two years. The company is now looking to take their concept worldwide. They spotted a gap in the market for their cafes after seeing the growing number of remote workers and social surfers using cafes as their base.

The first UK branch of the Russian chain has just opened on Old Street in London. The people behind the café have stated that London was chosen as they thought those living there would be more opened minded about such a concept and immediately understand the idea. So far the café seems to have gone down well with locals and has already secured a few regulars!

Alarm clocks

How does it work?

Upon arriving at the café, guests are invited to take an alarm clock from the cupboard and make note of the time. They will then take their alarm clock to their tables so they can clock out when they are ready to. There is no minimum time.

Whilst in the café, guests can help themselves to complimentary snacks which include biscuits, fruit and vegetables. They can also use the professional coffee machine or have a hot drink made for them by a member of staff. Unlike other cafes, Ziferblat also allows customers to prepare their own food in the kitchen.

Whilst washing up is not compulsory, Ziferblat have found that most people are more than happy to wash their own dishes and even other customers’ too!

The way of the future

Whilst some people may love the concept behind Ziferblat, others may find it off putting. It could potentially make customers feel slightly uneasy having an alarm clock next to them which is literally clocking how much time they have spent in the café and how much money they owe. At the same time, no one can say that it is expensive at a rate of £1.80 per hour. If you think about it, it is actually cheaper than your average drink from a coffee chain outlet like Starbucks or Costa!

Many people will also enjoy the social atmosphere that a café like Ziferblat provides. Rather than people keeping to themselves, Ziferblat encourages interaction by providing a shared kitchen for customers to use, as well as a piano which is welcome for anyone to play. Ziferblat could potentially be a remote workers hangout, as it provides a place where they can get on with their work, socialise with others and drink coffee and tea to their hearts content.


Although some people may still be sceptical about whether Ziferblat and its concept have a future, it is already a keen contender for best opening of the year. If all goes well with the London café, we expect to see Ziferblat cafes rolling out all over the country and you never know some other cafes may end up changing the way they work too!


Image credits: KaiChanVong & robstephaustralia

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