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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.
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.
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 secondhand guttered pipes painted. This is of very low cost yet looks beautiful like a rooftop garden. It is also a great coworking space.
There are three varieties of most of the items including corn flakes, cookies, breads, dips, seasonal vegetables and fruits, tea and coffee and homemade cakes apart from hot and cold milk. There is only one baker. Customers are allowed to get outside food, etc. Every morning from 7.30–10.30 am, we do premium breakfast offering different kinds of mini chicken sausages and egg preparations, etc. at Rs 8 per minute.
This is an anticafé model. I don’t need a chef or a typical restaurant menu. Unlike people who visit restaurants for great food and experience, there are people who go for a meeting, Internet along with some snacks and coffee while they have to pay around Rs 500. If they come to us and spend even an hour, the charges will be Rs 300 and they will get around 30 items to eat along with other things in that amount. Games and magazines are the biggest crowd-pullers.
A human being can eat up to 500 gm of food at any point of time. Eating that much and spending even an hour would not cost us more than Rs 50. Overall, if we are doing sales worth Rs 60,000 daily, then our total cost is not more than Rs 11,000. Our average daily net profit is Rs 30,000-40,000.
Our overhead costs are 30 percent of what we used to incur in previous restaurant. Daily, we get around 45-50 people spending on an average two-three hours at our cafe. The Plan- We have got more than 50 requests for franchise. We are planning to launch a mobile app for people to buy time online.
We would also go to corporate this month proposing them to buy time at our cafe and give it to the people in terms of the CSR activity. We, on the other hand, will give them certificate acknowledging their investment towards CSR.
(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (January, 2016 Issue).