The 24-year-old Daria Volkova, who came to Germany from Russia in 2008, opened the ‘Slow Time’ café in the middle of April. For now her goal is to make enough money from the café to support herself and her six-year-old son, according to the website of news magazine Der Spiegel.
“I hope to capture the spirit of the times,” Volkova told Der Spiegel.
Customers are charged €0.05 per minute, amounting to €3.00 an hour. When they come in the door, Volkova gives them a wristband with the time marked on it. When they leave they hand it back and their bill is calculated to the minute.
The concept of time is turned on its head, with several clocks purposely showing different times. The intention is for people to forget about time and focus on those around them. “It’s easier – and cheaper – to meet people here than in a bar, where you have to buy expensive drinks,” Volkova said.
Customers are allowed to have as much coffee as they want, and they can even bring their own food. The entire space is supposed to feel like a living room, with books, board games and slippers provided.
The 75 square-metre room has space for about 25 customers and to make money, Volkova needs eleven people to come in an hour. So far, she hasn’t been able to break even, Der Spiegel reported. However, she is confident that things will take off in the coming months. She has few expenses and only needs one other member of staff to run the café.
She attributes the teething problems to the novelty of the concept in Germany and to the fact that she hasn’t yet set up regular events at the venue.
When she’s not running the coffee shop, Volkova can be found in a lecture hall in Mainz, where she is studying music.
It costs €2.00 to enter the ‘Slow Time’ café and that price covers the first 30 minutes. After that, customers are charged €0.05 per minute.
The few regular customers at the café are full of praise. One wrote on Facebook “There’s delicious coffee (for free), WiFi, and I’m by a big window soaking up the sun. The ideal place to work.”
But only time will tell whether more Germans will embrace the concept.