A café in New York has found a way around this whole awkward dance: customers pay by the minute, rather than the cup.
The Glass Hour Café in Williamsburg, Brooklyn feels more like somebody’s living room than a coffee shop. Walking around, you see a couch, some bean bag chairs. What you won’t see at Glass Hour: a kitchen or even a cappuccino machine. You serve yourself from a simple drip coffee pot. The food? A few humble granola bars and chocolates.
The owners, who opened it in August, call it an anti-café. Instead of shelling out for food and drink, customers pay for the time they spend — 10 cents a minute or $6 an hour. Which means no one will judge you for sitting here all day long.
Pay-as-you-go cafés are new to the U.S., but there are dozens in Europe, mostly in Russia. Glass Hour’s Zlata Koshlina and her cofounders are Russian immigrants and got the idea for their cafe from a Ziferblat café in Moscow.
Here is more, via Air Genius Gary Leff. But why Russia? Is it because there is a closer association between higher income and higher status in Russia, and thus charging an explicit price for time does not bring a negative clientele composition effect?