13.05.16

Why Millennials queue – and restaurants love it

Why Millennials queue - and restaurants love it

Have you noticed how queuing has become “a thing”? Queuing is now brag-worthy. It's cool to #queueforfood.  The queuing trend is driven by the Millennials and restaurants and bars are actively encouraging it.  

Waiting in line for a table used to be a negative experience. Something that we would actually be quite peeved about.   Now, however, the length of time we queue for a table at a restaurant cafe is something to brag about – by both customer and business.

Instagram, the Millennials social media of choice, is full of selfies or foodie photos with things like “Just queued for 1,1/2 hours for breakfast at !**! #queue #queueforfood #queuing #lovefood #lovelife." Twitter is the same.

So why do Millennials love to queue?

This has to do with a generation of people who have grown up with constant positive reinforcement. They’re the first to have parents and teachers who endlessly tell them how well they’re doing, how amazing they are, where every layer in pass the parcel has a prize and everyone’s a winner…they are The "good job" generation.

Millennials need affirmation that their choices are right. They thrive on approval. Their day’s success is often measured by the number of likes they got on an Instagram post or the number of followers they have on twitter. And what better reassurance that they’re doing the right thing than an entire line of people making the same choice as them!

If there’s a line, it has to be worth going to. The queue is therefore a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It’s also about feeling part of an exclusive club. Being in on a trend while it’s still new. Attention spans are short. Trends come and go at lightening speed. The Millennials are constantly looking for something new…

And even if they don’t even really like the food when they get there, the Millennials will never say, because they’ve invested their time and energy. They’ve been seen to queue. You don’t want to be seen to queue for something that’s crap. What a loser.  So they’ll keep going back just to prove a point.

So restaurants and cafes, instead of being worried about the negative impact a queue might have on business, are positively encouraging queuing. Tender Greens in Santa Monica always has a line. Its counter is right by the door instead of at the back of the shop, so only two people can actually queue inside before there’s a line out the door!   #queuegenius.

Eateries like Grey Dog in NYC will meet you in the line, give you a menu and reserve your table with a colourful bandana. You can relax in the knowledge you have got your spot and waiting doesn’t seem an issue.

The Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Austin Texas always has a line around the building, but orders are taken and drinks served while you wait your turn.

Venues are managing their queues by creating an actual positive experience in the queue itself. They are also positively loving their queues and publicizing them on their own social media accounts.  Queues are good for business.

Want to be part of our exclusive club?  Join the queue.

Dan Einzig

PHOTO: Moojo, Austin Texas. For more on this project, click here