Leadership Tactic #64: Create a Line

Every week or so, I’ve been allowing a few food trucks to park at my organization during lunch. They serve great food, they attract a crowd, and they donate some money to our international service trip.

Right now there are two food trucks. One of the trucks makes food to order, so there’s always a wait. It’s not uncommon for them to have a line of 25-50 people waiting to order or get their food.

The other truck has the food ready to go when you order, so you’re in and out instantly.

A few weeks ago, I complimented the owner of the second truck on their fast service. When I said that, he replied, “Actually, we could get your food out even faster, but we try to slow it down a bit to get a line.”

I heard the same thing on The Great Food Truck Race (great show) a few weeks ago: Once a truck got a line started, there was no stopping them. The short line would quickly turn into a long line.

Me, I hate waiting in lines. But having thought about them since the food truck guy mentioned it, I have to admit how powerful lines are. You always feel good when you choose a place with a line, because you know the food must be worth waiting for. It’s how I found my two favorite ramen restaurants in Kyoto–they had lines going down the block. And it’s why Ted Drewes tastes better than Mr. Wizard’s (holla, St. Louis!)–Ted Drewes always has a line.

I had just never thought that businesses would intentionally create lines–I thought lines were simply the product of popularity. But now I know. If you want to get people’s attention and make them feel good in advance about your product, find a way to create a line.