Panera Bread and Clockface Cafe: Changing Paradigms


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A New Russian Paradigm: Clockface Cafe

Paying for Time, Not Coffee.  Image by dyobmit.

Paying for Time, Not Coffee. Image by dyobmit.

When we go to a cafe to eat, we’re paying for food, right?  Or are we really paying for the opportunity to sit alone or with friends in a friendly environment?  If that is the case, shouldn’t we really be paying for our time in the booth?

That is the model for Clockface Cafe, a chain of cafes started in Russia. Currently with nine cafes, seven in Russia and two in the Ukraine, the model is expanding.  Customers entering the cafe pick up a clock, and pay for their time.  Coffee and cookies are free.  Customers may even bring in their own food.

Entrepreneur and artist Ivan Meetin says, “Sometimes I call it the social network in the real life,” he says. “I want people to communicate.”  As NPR reporter Corey Flintoff observed, “Meetin’s idea is a throwback to what people did before there were social media — he may have just figured out a different way to make it pay.”

Cafes Changing Paradigms

Novel ways of making the world work shake up our preconceptions and our ingrained ways of doing things.  Shifting paradigms makes it possible to try new social models that may be more satisfying than the old ones.  Bread and coffee, anyone?


Flintoff, C. Rubles For Minutes, Not Mochas, At Russian Cafe Chain. NPR. (2013). February 1, 2013.

Rogers, K. Panera Opens Free-Food, Suggested-Donations-Only Cafes (2013). Fox Business. February 1, 2013.

Panera Cares. Actions Speak Louder. (2012). February 1, 2013.

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