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Marketplace Morning Report

This coffee shop isn’t very interested in coffee

Marielle Segarra Nov 25, 2016
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Is it just us, or have coffee shops been getting less comfortable lately? You go in, buy a coffee, sit down with your laptop and TRY to get some work done, only to find there are no electrical outlets, there’s no Wi-Fi, the music is too loud, and oh…there are no bathrooms either.

Coffee shops are clearly trying to tell us it’s not cool to buy one coffee and then occupy a table all day long.

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.

Glass Hour isn’t profitable yet, so the founders are still waiting to see if there’s a market in America and Brooklyn, land of coffee shops, for their imported idea.

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