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people 05 Jan 2016

The Anti-Cafe Where Time is Money

In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Enayet Ansari shares about the idea of starting India’s first ‘Pay per minute’ cafe.

By Nusra Deputy Features Editor

Why do people waste time if it is money for them? Or rather why shouldn’t they pay for it while get other things for free at least food, which is a love for most of us. The Minute Bistro, India’s first do-it-yourself café at Bengaluru that charges for the time spent not food, by former restaurateur Enayet Ansari, brings the Russia-born concept called anti-café to India. It’s ‘time’ to bump into India’s first Anti-Café.

Share your entrepreneurial Journey and what led to the birth of your brand?

I ran a restaurant for the last around two years where I had problems with my staff. Moreover, our menu was quite expensive. I tried reducing the price, but that didn’t work. I felt like cheating to customers. So in October last year, I thought of giving back to them not by charging for the food but for the time they spend, that is, on pay per minute basis apart from offering lots of things like play station, books, magazine, 55-inch TV and WiFi for free and yet making sure of churning good profit.

How focused are you on designing and seating part of the restaurant?

The cafe is 2,500 sq.ft in size, and there is lots of greenery inside. The interiors are done by Revathi Kamath, one of the top landscapist in India. The seating capacity is 60, and the charges are Rs 5 per minute. We have got planter boxes in most of the walls and second-hand guttered pipes painted. This is of very low cost yet looks beautiful like a rooftop garden. It is also a great co-working space.

What are the challenges with growing your business – i.e. maintaining standards, brand integrity, customer experience etc. and how have you met these challenges?

I still have to face the hurdles. Since most of my offering is standardise I don’t really need a skilled chef to put it together. Customers feel the space is there and they just love spending time playing board games, having the best coffee at their convenience.

Can you tell us more about your business operations from the standpoint of Loyalty Program, technology (Hardware & software), raw material sourcing and talent recruitment & training?

We are working on building an app specific to buying time at The Minute Bistro and once the app is out it will be easier to track all customers and stay in touch with them ( since all customers are micro tenant of the space ) home outside home. And as far as raw materials are concerned, they are all standard items coming from the vendors.

How does the concept of pay per minute work? How is the response so far?

The response is slow and gradually increasing. Since I have not done any kind of marketing (just to test ground) we are very happy with the whole headache of staff , low wastage, higher revenue , no stealing etc.

What is the average duration by the customers’ at you cafe and the average price break up?

45 Minute to 1 hr (breakfast) (8 rupee a minute ) 1 to 3 hrs during the day ( 5 rupee a minute )

Do you have a growth targets for the next few years and can you reveal any strategy for how you intend to achieve this?

We want to be in each city in the next 5 year. Since this model of cafe bistro is tension free of the staff and investment is low. After we standardise everything I am sure we can sell our franchise easily all over India. We just starting this initiative cal EAT TO FEED, PAY FOR TIME i.e. every 15 days 2% of our profit is shared with the nearest orphanage or old home or needy. This initiative will help us with constant pr and even our customers will be glad that we are putting their money back in the society.

How are you building on quality at a time when your model is based not on food but time?

We are offering 31 items on the buffet to eat, lots of board games to play e.g. chess, monopoly , etc. We offer free high speed wifi, play station, lots of books and magazines and many more things to do as customers like.

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