Charlotte Hadfield

A look inside Ziferblat’s latest Liverpool branch

gallery4Founded in Moscow by Ivan Meetin back in 2011, Ziferblat grew from the concept of a ‘tree house for grown ups’. Since then Ziferblat has expanded to 16 branches across Europe with 2 branches here in Liverpool. ‘Ziferblat’ is the Russian word for clock face, with the space itself defined by the time you spend there rather than how you choose to spend it. At a cost of just 8 pence per minute (with a 4-hour cap at £19.20) you are free to use this shared space to work, study, hold a meeting, relax or enjoy a tense game of Cluedo. And what’s more, you can indulge in as much cake and as many beverages as you wish at no extra cost.

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We’ve all experienced the inevitable glare from a waitress in Costa as she notices you’ve come to the end of your coffee and are savouring the last bite of your scone. Well, Ziferblat aim to turn this idea on its head, by ensuring its customers don’t feel rushed and are instead able to kick off their shoes and relax for as long a duration as they wish. By creating a homely environment and even making use of real house frontages for the different rooms, Ziferblat manage to create a space that is welcoming to everyone no matter what age or occupation.

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So how has Ziferblat adapted to the environment of Liverpool’s Business District…

Last week our Web Editor Jordan and I were given a tour of Ziferblat’s latest branch by Assistant Manager Matty Jones within the heart of Liverpool’s business district. The new St Paul’s Square branch opened its doors at the start of September and has quickly adapted to its surroundings. As we entered the space we noticed a number of customers eagerly typing away at their keyboards or discussing their latest project over a large cup of tea. However, the branch managed to retain a domestic, homely feel amongst the hectic schedules of the working week.

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In addition to offering a café/come social space, each Ziferblat branch also has a number of meeting rooms which can be hired out for anything from meetings and seminars, to yoga clubs and work parties at a 25% discounted rate of 6p per person per minute as opposed to the 8 pence charge. The St Paul’s Ziferblat has 5 private meeting rooms, all of which are decorated as charming miniature homes.

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Matty: “It’s such a versatile space. The idea is that you can put the brand anywhere and it will just fit in, in its new location wherever that may be.”

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How different is the branch here in St Paul’s Square compared to the other Ziferblats?

Matty: “Our St Paul’s branch makes slightly different use of the space to other Ziferblats, with a greater emphasis on co-working space and meeting rooms. Our Albert dock branch is as you’d expect, more wholly focused on tourists and so has a more vintage feel. While our Edge Street space has a lot of creatives coming through its doors and hosts events such as ‘Freelance Friday’ where 40/50 freelancers come and hot-desk and collaborate their ideas. Here in St Paul’s Square we wanted to create a swish, clean and refined space to fit in with the environment of the business district while still offering the same domestic, welcoming setting of our other branches.”

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Have you had any well known businesses making use of Ziferblat meeting rooms?

Matty: “Yes we’ve had such a wide variety, anything from the likes of Google to the NHS. In this branch in particular we’ve had the company Etsy using one of our rooms so far and a number of workshops taking place. We also provide projection equipment, paper and refreshments in each of our meeting rooms at no extra cost.”

Do people often exploit the pay-as-you-stay concept of Ziferblat?

Matty: “It doesn’t happen often but it has happened on a few occasions where customers have ordered a number of items and only stayed for a matter of minutes. However, we believe the Ziferblat concept actually helps to create honesty. We are currently trialling an idea in this branch called ‘the honesty box’. This is a separate idea to the ‘pay-as-you-stay’ concept and is more catered to customers who are in a rush or simply want to grab a coffee before they go to work. Guests can get a hot cup of Ziferblend coffee, created in collaboration with local independent roasters 92 Degrees Coffee and pay whatever they believe the coffee is worth. The honesty box is used a lot in this branch but regulars often use the honesty box in the morning to grab a coffee and a piece of toast, then come in later for lunch and stick around for the afternoon to complete some work or host a meeting.”

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Do have any further plans for expansion at the moment?

Matty: “Currently we don’t have any specific plans in place to expand. However, in the long term we want to open new venues in the North and disperse across the country. We aim to make Ziferblat a concept that is known everywhere. New sites will be announced in the next 12 months.”

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