Ivan Mitin, Ziferblat's founder, began the practice of charging for time spent in his cafe five years ago, after expanding from impromptu poetry and art gatherings in a small Moscow location. Soon he began receiving requests for other locations, and he began spreading the Ziferblat concept around the world.
The English-language site explains the concept this way:
"Ziferblat is the first place where everything is free. Except the time you spend there."Ziferblat reportedly translates into "clockface" as a brand reminder of the concept. The brand now has a presence beyond Russia, including cafes in Ukraine, Slovenia, London, and Manchester (UK). Cakes, coffees, teas, and of course Wi-Fi are all free. You just pay for the time you actually spend in the cafe.
So far, this unique pricing policy has caught the attention of locals and vacationers alike. Does Ziferblat have a long-term future in a world where Starbucks and other competitors offer comfy seating for as long as customers wish to linger over a single mug of espresso?