“Everything is free, except the time you spend there.”
This is the exact concept of Ziferblat cafe, a Russian chain that offers free unlimited food and drinks. However, you have to pay 7 cents per minute in order to stay in the facility.
So how exactly does Ziferblat work?
The term Ziferblat actually means “clock face” in Russian and German. Upon their arrival, guests need to take an old-fashioned alarm clock from the cupboard, note the time, keep it with them and “clock-out” as they leave. Interestingly, there’s no minimum time and guests can spend their time any way they want- like munch on complimentary snacks such as fruits, vegetables and biscuits, prepare their own food in the kitchen, make their own coffee, or play board games with fellow diners.
Keep in mind that although food is unlimited, you have to help yourself and clean up after eating.
“One of the great rewards of Ziferblat is the amount of trust that it creates. We design in trust by having a whole free buffet system where people can help themselves to unlimited food and drinks and board games and newspapers and amazing wifi which is free. But all that we ask in return is that people respect the space,” said Colin Shenton, Ziferblat shop owner.
Interestingly, people spend an average of 83 minutes on the cafe, which is four times longer than the time people usually spend on regular cafes.
Customer Martina Buczynska told AJ+: “There’s no pressure, no one is asking you what you want, you can decide anything you want. In traditional cafes, they always look at you when you order one coffee and then you stay there longer than they want you too. They just look at you weirdly.”
Originally launched in Moscow in 2011 by Ivan Meetin, Ziferblat now has dozen of branches around Europe.
Watch the video.
What is a cafe?
A cafe is a restaurant that usually serves coffee, snacks and simple meals and is a perfect place to read and have a chat with other customers. The term “cafe” means coffee in French.