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Ziferblat in Moscow
|Genre||Coffee house, Social space|
|Headquarters||UK, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine|
Number of employees
Ziferblat is an "anti-café" chain where customers pay per minute for the time spent in the venue. Decorated in the style of a living room, guests clock in and out at the desk upon entry and are encouraged to treat the space like home, with food and drink being free of charge. Typically, the public "Sitting Room" space includes boardgames, newspapers, Wi-Fi, a mixture of soft and hard furnishings, a piano, a library and craft supplies.
The name Ziferblat is derived from Zifferblatt, meaning "clock face" in Russian and German. The first branch of Ziferblat was founded in 2010 and opened in September 2011 in Moscow by Ivan Mitin. Ziferblat's prototype was a common space called Tree House.
Ziferblat is an attempt, according to its creator, to formalize the relationship between the guest and the place by using the pay-per-minute system. Food and drink can be prepared by customers for free in a common kitchen, and include hot drinks, cakes, fruit and toasties. Mitin has said that the main concept of the chain is not only to use "an unusual pay system", but to create a comfortable space where customers can work and meet people.
In the UK, Ziferblat now has branches in Manchester, Media City and London and plans to open more in other provincial cities across the country. With their community atmosphere and guest driven culture, their model acts as an alternative to a cafe or coworking space. The chain's Liverpool branch in Albert Dock was closed in March 2017 after the Dock management evicted them over "considerable arrears".
Ziferblat's 16th branch, and its first in Asia, opened on the 15th of December in 2016. While the concept of the franchise is new to the Mongolian society, the branch, known as Ziferbaatar (Mongolia's capital city is Ulaanbaatar) is deemed as one of the top places to visit in the capital city. Ziferblat Ulaanbaatar  differs from many of the other Ziferblat branches due to its unique interior design. The Mongolian branch has 5 rooms (excluding the main hall and kitchen) with each room dedicated to one theme; Arts room, Harry Potter room, Asian culture room, event room (also known as the Zifer Theatre) and a tiny back-in-time secret room.
Ziferblat is part of the sharing economy, in a similar way to AirBnB and Uber. During their first 2 years in the UK, Ziferblat was shortlisted for and won multiple awards including the Innovation Award at the Cafe Life Awards, one of the Innovation100 in Greater Manchester and New Business of The Year in the National Business Awards (shortlist).
The public sitting room space acts as an alternative to working from home on a flexible basis, by the minute. Discounted monthly memberships are available, however many "Ziferblatters" choose to drop in as and when they desire. Popular among freelance workers, professionals and creatives, Ziferblat offers a day cap that allows workers to pay for 4 hours and stay for the whole day. Ziferblat has been used as a key example of how modern working patterns are changing in the United Kingdom, particularly in urban areas.
Each branch has a variety of creative spaces businesses can rent for meetings or activities which would have been typically held in a hotel or a conference centre. Some of the Ziferblat meeting room styles include a primary school classroom, a chintzy vintage dining room and other quirky themes. The pay per minute rate includes all technical equipment, Wi-Fi and unlimited Zifer-kitchen treats. This new approach to working has proven incredibly popular with SMEs, charities, public sector organisations and global companies.
Ziferblat uses open events to grow its community including yoga, martial arts, guitar lessons, calligraphy classes, talks, gigs, pop up food events, coworking sessions, art classes, knitting clubs, creative writing groups, comic book clubs, tai chi, language classes, meditation and more. These classes either employ the Ziferblat pay per minute rate or are charged at a ticket price which incorporates the ticket fee.
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