Get Free Food and Drinks At This Cafe

Food and drinks are completely free, but diners pay for the amount of time spent at the café. Customers are charged three pennies (6 cents SGD) per minute for the time they spend there.

Ziferblat Cafe in London. (Image from The Guardian).

Ziferblat Cafe in London. (Image from The Guardian)

Ziferblat Café in London has come up with a novel café concept where customers have unlimited free food, coffee and wifi. They can also bring their own food or drinks (except alcohol) if they want.

The café provides biscuits, bread and crudités (such as raw vegetables with dips) – free to diners.

But café patrons are required to wash their own dishes and make their own beverages.

What do Singaporeans actually think of such a café – if one were to be set up here?

Interesting and ingenious concept

Some, like Hoe Zong Huan, 29, a yacht rental specialist, felt that the concept is interesting. He said, “This is very interesting and ingenious. People always like free things, especially Singaporeans.”

Auditor Neo Wei Siang, 27, agreed, “Payment based on the amount of time spent in the café is very innovative.”

Said David Tan, 60, who is semi-retired, “For a chat and a break, I should say that it’s great.

He added, “But for that kind of price, I suppose I cannot be picky on food quality.

Cool and Unique Café Concept

Some Singaporeans would be willing to give the café a try.

As occupational health executive Melissa Tan, 27, said, “I would check out the café at least once to see if their food and drinks are any good.”

Zong Huan agreed. He said, “This café concept is so cool! So I would ask a couple of my friends to eat at the café just to experience this concept.”

And Wei Siang added, “This concept is unheard of in Singapore. Also, because it’s new, people are going to want to visit the café and have the unique experience of going there.”

Ordering food at Ziferblat Cafe, London. (Image taken by Alex Lentati, The Evening Standard).

Clocking in at Ziferblat Cafe, London. (Image taken by Alex Lentati, The Evening Standard).

Do Not Want to Pay For Time

However, other Singaporeans were strongly against such an idea and do not think that it would take off. Student Daphne Lim, 22, said, “There are many places in Singapore which are inexpensive. So why do we even have to pay for the time spent there?”

Banquet server Davis Yin, 23, agreed. He said, “I don’t like the idea of the café charging diners for the time spent there.

And despite the minimal costs, you would not see Davis visiting such a café. He said, “If this café was in Singapore, I would not eat there.”

Crowds and Cleaning Up

Added David, “Singaporeans are known for being ungracious. So in Singapore, such a café would be crowded and there will be a queue. I for one, would not eat at any place that is crowded and has a queue, even if you paid me to eat there.”

Daphne also felt that “the idea of cleaning up at a cafe is not very practical. And there’s no reason to bring your own food to a café either.”

Food Too Simple

Others were not too happy about the type of food available.

Angela Chan, 31, an office manager said, “I think I’ll get sick of the food that’s available there. For example, Ziferblat has only bread, biscuits and crudités. Usually for lunch or dinner, I would want more substantial food – especially when I’m hungry.”

“And I certainly would not want to go to a café to make my own coffee – even if it’s free,” she added.

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