To Wait or Not To Wait? That’s Not the Question.

One of Chicago’s most popular deep dish restaurants, Pequod’s, is a relatively unimpressive dive of an establishment that commands multi-hour wait times during peak hours. Locals will tell you it’s not on the list for most tourists and if you Google “Chicago deep dish pizza,” it won’t show up on the first page. However, many will tell you it’s unequivocally the best deep dish pizza in Chicago.

The restaurant experience today, for the most part, seems to be out of the same playbook. Walk in and have the host greet your party. Hopefully, get seated shortly thereafter. Order drinks, look over the menu, and subsequently select the entrée. Eat your entrée, decline dessert, and then settle up. You might be done in 45 minutes. Aside from your server, the ambiance and of course the meal, the each experience tends to run into each other.

So when it’s time to order at Pequod’s, what does the server say? “It’s going to be 45 minutes, is that OK?”

In a world of “freaky fast,” drive-through satisfaction, and #trending minute-by-minute news, the server at Pequod’s is passively telling you, “You’re going to wait 45 minutes if you want our pizza – there is no choice. We love you, but ultimately we make the rules.”

So then you wait… And when you’re in a food coma after two slices, you realize that you would have waited two hours to be seated, then happily another 45 for the grand finale. Or at least I would. The pizza is nothing short of spectacular.

What type of customer do you serve, or more importantly, which type of customer do you want to serve? Michael Schrage explicitly tackles this distinction in his book, “Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?”

Is your business worth the wait? That’s not the question.

The true question is… Who’s it for?

Comments 2

  1. Dave, you make an excellent point that many people miss about marketing – the whole process is easier if you ZAG when others are ZIGGING. Pequod’s has made the decision to play a different game than the “freaky fast” – one about quality and experience. In fact, the long wait likely builds anticipation for the main event.

    1. Post

      Thank you, Bruce. I love the “zig” when others “zag” insight. When you “know who you are” or just as important as “who you’re not,” the marketing becomes clearer.

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