Russian café charges customers by the time, not services

    12:17 PM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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    (CNN) -- Ever felt you've overstayed your welcome in a cafe by reading and working while hugging the latte you bought two hours ago? If that's you, then there's a solution. A Russian café that charges customers according to how long they stay has opened in the UK.

    In a coffee shop in London everything is free, but the time you spend here. This is how it works, upon arrival, you collect a clock and you jot down the time and you hang onto it. All you have to do is pay a flat fee of three pence a minute or five cents. That means, that if you stay here an hour, you'll pay one pound eighty, roughly $3, and that's regardless of however much free tea and biscuits you consume.

    You can stay here as long as you like. You can sit everywhere, you can meet new people, you can work, make tea, enjoy a snack.

    But with the goodies comes a catch: you need to prepare your own drinks and clean up after yourself. But even that does not seem to deter many customers here. One customer said, "We are kind used to a shared living space and so I think it's a nice idea. I feel I am one of those people who often collects my cups and takes them back even in ordinary cafes so it's nice to feel you are part of something."

    To make you feel at home during those chores, there's a piano, wi-fi and even a record player should you get bored.

    Ziferblat, which means clock face in Russia, is a business model that has already proven popular in that country. Ten branches have opened there. Owner Ivan Mitin said, "All the people who come here, they participate in the existence of this space, of maintaining this space. We all share our expenses together. I pay rent once a month, they pay once a minute. My idea is that a social project where people are involved, should be profitable. If it's profitable it shows you are doing right. For me the main idea is to be profitable."

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