Ziferblat: Pay-per-minute café opens in London

Owner of Russian chain says he hopes café will encourage a more 'communal' experience

Customers will be charged by the minute rather than per cup at a new café chain introduced to the UK from Russia.

Ziferblat ('clock face' in Russian), which opened its first UK branch in Shoreditch, London, at the end of November.

It is the brainchild of Ivan Mitin, 29, who has already opened ten other branches in his native Russia and one in Ukraine.

When guests arrive, they take a clock from a cupboard and keep it with them till they leave, paying 3p per minute spent there.

They make their own drinks and food – and even do their own washing up.

“I love the idea that people could come here and be themselves,” said Mr Mitin. “A city like London or any other big city provokes us to behave in such a way that makes it seem like you’re wearing a mask.

“We choose the way of living life. I’m going to be the office manager or I’m the artist or I’m the musician and things like that, and sometimes the way of living we choose makes us restricted in this way.” Customers make their own food and drink

Mr Mitin hopes to create a more communal atmosphere than the mainstream café chains, where patrons often sit hunched over their laptops or closed off in their own social groups.

“Sometimes in cafés your table is your small world and you don’t see much around you,” he said.

“[In mainstream cafés] you want service. You’re looking at how they treat you because you’re paying money for that.

“In Ziferblat, you don’t pay money for service. Nobody serves you; you help yourselves. By paying for time… you participate in the existence of this space, so it’s like we all rent this space together.”

Ziferblat, which can accommodate up to 40 people, has already proven a hit, with guests tending to mingle with each other and make friends.

“They go to the shop together to buy ingredients like some vegetables and they cook salads in the kitchen and sit together on one table, inviting other guests to join them,” said Mr Mitin.

“They start nice conversations, really open and it’s very sincere I would say.”

Mr Mitin thinks his concept could start a global trend.

“It’s in Ukraine and it’s heading more and more to Europe, so I think this idea will challenge the world,” he said.

However, he fears his idea could spiral out of control and that people could start to be charged for spending time in other places like libraries as in a “dystopian movie.”

“In Russia, for example, there are already restaurants who sell food like normal restaurants but also charge for time,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years there would be a street in London where people will be charged for time for just walking by.” Ivan Mitin thinks his concept could start a global trend

But overall Mr Mitin is optimistic about his project. 

“I compare Ziferblat with a treehouse,” he said. “While being children we all dream about our own small world that we can build with our playmates. Ziferblat is quite the same. We build it together with our guests.”

News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
people
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices