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Time is money, but coffee is free

Coffee's free but time is money

Quirky cafe charges for your duration, not consumption.


May 29, 2013 6:31 by

Over 6,000km away, in the city of Wiesbaden in western Germany, is a curious little 75 square-metre café that is both designed and managed to feel like a cosy living room, seat 25 people at once and charge you for the time you spend there, not the coffee you consume.

Daria Volkoka, 24-year-old founder of the ‘Slow Time‘ cafe, launched the shop in April this year and is confident that her quirky business model – originated and proven popular in Russia – will pick up over the next few months.

“It’s easier – and cheaper – to meet people here than in a bar, where you have to buy expensive drinks,” she said.

Customers are charged roughly AED9.50 at the door – which would cover you for the first 30 minutes. After that, you’re charged approximately 24 fils a minute, amounting to AED14 an hour and in that time span – you can have all the coffee you’d like, bring your own food or get comfortable in a pair of slippers (which she provides along with board games and books).

When you’re ready to leave, present your wristband and you’ll be billed exactly to the minute.

Despite Volkova’s entire business model being dependent on time, all of the cafe’s displayed clocks are purposely manipulated and set to different times. The logic behind her gesture is that customers ought to forget about the time and focus on what really matters – the people around them.

Despite her limited expenses and only one other member of staff, she hasn’t been able to break even yet, but tells Der Spiegel that she attributes this ‘teething’ period to the novelty of the concept in Germany. Her main focus is to now make enough money to support herself and her six-year-old son, according to an interview with magazine Der Spiegel.

For her to start making money, Volkova would need at least 11 customers to come in an hour.

If the ‘Time Slow’ cafe were to expand to Dubai – would you be a frequent visitor or would the idea be a total flop?


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