Don’t wait in lines.
Do you think that Bill Gates waits in lines? One of my core beliefs is that I shouldn’t have to wait in lines. Most people have never taken time to think about it. But to me, in almost any “in line” situation I am the customer. About to spend money. In many cases a lot of money. So why should I wait? Celebrities and super rich people are able to bypass the line waiting process and I have found that I can too.
Just to be clear, I understand that most people do wait in lines. And thats ok. For them.
The other day I was taking friends to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Newport Beach – Mama D’s. It’s a great Italian restaurant that is actually rated as a top 10 restaurant in the whole United States on Yelp. As you can probably guess its always crowded. There is ALWAYS a line of people waiting outside and most of the time the wait is over an hour and a half.
Anyways, I was taking some friends and a new business acquaintance there. We get to Mama D’s and there are about 50 people sitting outside on chairs. The restaurant is doing a great job taking care of everyone who is waiting. Giving them drinks and bread and cookies. They are awesome.
We valet park in the back. Come in and say hey to the guys and girls we know who work there and make our way up to the hostess stand. There was a family there. They walked in with us. So I told them to go ahead first. The hostess (who I know from being there multiple times before) told them it would be about an hour and fifteen minutes.
I greeted the hostess and gave her $100 and asked her to do what she could for me… and we were seated 5 minutes later. The whole dining experience is wonderful. We get to eat at a fantastic restaurant without waiting. My guests are impressed that I must have some kind of “pull” at this place. And I saved an hour of my life.
We were just finishing our dinner when that couple sat down who had come in at the same time that we did.
I don’t tell this story to brag or act like I am some celebrity. Far from it. I hate the limelight. I tell this story to illustrate that we can all be treated like a celebrity with a little smart maneuvering. Who doesn’t want to be treated special? So here are a few things I do on purpose that help me not wait in lines.
Always befriend the hostess. She has a crappy job.
Most people are dismissive and treat them pretty poorly. A lot of times they are young girls not making much money. So they are very grateful for a tip. But oddly enough people rarely tip them. I also get their names. Put it in a note on my phone. And review it on the way in… so that I remember them.
Simple note like Ellen: blond hair, wears mens clothes. Something like that helps jog my memory. And if that person isn’t there then I mention them and befriend the new girl. And tip her in advance for helping me out.
Do it discreetly so that you don’t put them in an awkward situation with the other diners or their boss.
Third tip… (this one is ninja)
If it is a restaurant that you want to frequent… and one that is going to be used for business especially… then it makes sense to lay some groundwork first. What that means is that you need to go and dine at the restaurant during their DOWN TIMES… Like 3pm in the afternoon. And tip the hostesses very generously. I mean $20-$50 even if you are the ONLY PERSON in the restaurant. Get their name. Tell them yours. Then go back 5 or 6 times like this. Meet the manager. Give them a great Yelp review. Bring friends during this down time. But always make sure to make contact with the hostesses and manager personally every time you go to this place. Just to tell them your meal was great… or to tell them they are doing a great job.
Tip well. Tip everyone. Walk in like a gangster.
Like you own the place. You’re in the movie Goodfellas and they are whisking you to your table. You want to be memorable at a restaurant that you will frequent. Then when you have a guest in town – you have an experience to give them. It’s even cooler if you can figure out “off the menu” things they can make for you.
All the previous stuff is geared towards a local restaurant. But I have found that this works in almost any situation. In some cases you have to be willing to “pay to play” to skip waiting and that is up to you whether its worth it. For me it usually is.
An example of pay to play is buying first class airline tickets. Another example is to use an airport concierge. Most people don’t know it but there are people who can get you through all the lines at the airport quickly. Have you ever seen Brad Pitt standing in line at the metal detector at LAX? Nope because he has a concierge. I use the same guy that he does. Can’t tell you about that though.
I have used these tactics at the DMV, Disneyland, the Airport, Restaurants, Movies, Concerts, and I am sure other places I can’t remember – and they work everywhere. They might not have worked the first time and I likely have to tweak the approach a bit but there is always a way.
The last thing I will say about this is that money is easy to make. Time is not. I would rather pay a little for convenience than waste hours of my life doing things that don’t appeal to me. If you don’t have any money then you might have to wait. But you should really get more money because not having to wait is clearly better.