Ivan Mitin was the first. He was the creator of the “anti-cafe” concept and the founder of the first pay-per-minute cafe where ‘everything is free, except the time you spend there’. Ever felt you’ve overstayed your welcome in a cafe, by reading, working or surfing the web while hugging the latte you bought two hours ago? Pay-per-minute cafes could be the answer.
The idea is simple: starting a cafe that is also an area of co-working, where customers sit, eat and pay only for the time they spend in the room. Usually the first hour they spend an amount that is about $5, plus another $1 every half hour from the second hour onwards. Clearly there are also other formulas, including the possibility to create daily and monthly subscriptions, but the mode of operation is almost always the same. The customer enters and receives an electronic card at the entrance where is marked the time of entry. With that card he has the access to an unlimited buffet, consisting of croissants, snacks, pastries, tea and coffee, but also a whole range of services, such as wi-fi, and workstations, complete with printers and scanners. When he finishes and exits, he gives back the card and pays the elapsed time.
To initiate this type of activity, the main obstacles are two: you have to find a suitable room, preferably located in a central area, and get the licences. The law could also request that you attend courses on hygiene.
Investments. To start a pay-per-minute cafe you need about $ 50,000, but you have to add the rent of a space of al least 100 square meters and the purchase of refrigerators, kettles, toasters, microwave ovens, and of course the chip cards that measure time.
Furthermore there are also the promotional activities. It takes time to get to know and explain the innovative formula to customers, even more to make them understand the advantages. The key then becomes the use of social networks. It’s better to create immediately a Facebook page and contact journalists and bloggers to advertise the room adequately.