Queue hacks

Food & Drink: Operations

5 simple queue hacks

By Gustaf Sjöholm on November 21, 20163 minutes read

Did you know that you’ll spend at least a year of your life standing in queue? Brits are internationally known for being great at queueing – make sure to turn this often annoying moment into something positive! Here are five hacks that’ll give you more business and happier customers.

Look at the queue moment as an opportunity to increase customer loyalty. Tell your story on a chalkboard, play great music or offer free samples!

Uncertainty and boredom are the real challenges of the queue.

Why do we hate to queue so much? Science has shown that it’s not the length of time that’s the problem. It’s the uncertainty and boredom we feel when standing in line! With busy weeks ahead of us leading up to Christmas, make sure to have a solid queue management strategy in place. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all, why don’t you:

1. Activate your customers

Why do you think there are mirrors next to many elevators? Thousands of TV screens at the airport? Let your customers read magazines, try free food samples or experiment with music when waiting to order from you.

Add engaging information about your food and drinks – why not create a story on a chalkboard of how your vegetables are harvested and how they make the journey all the way to your kitchen? Offer arcade games, add a jukebox or a pinball table!

Why not distract your customers with a nostalgic neverending playlist?

2. Go contactless

Yes, do it, start taking contactless payments if you haven’t! This new smoother type of payments can easily reduce service time by 10 seconds for each customer. The iZettle Reader accepts cardless payments via cards, Apple Pay or Android Pay.

3. Let your customers pre-order

Remember our story about the coffee shop innovator Deniz Turan and her business Caffeine Bank? Deniz took orders through Whatsapp. If that doesn’t feel like you – take orders over the phone and encourage your customers to do so in order to eliminate their queue time.

Kill boredom! It feels like one's life is slipping away when being stuck in a queue – so make sure that your customers aren't unoccupied.

4. Plan well!

As an iZettle customer you know exactly when your peak hours occur and what types of orders that are most common. Staff up for that time range (probably around lunch?) and make as many preparations as possible for your most frequent orders.

5. Show the estimated wait time

Yes, customers hate queuing because of the uncertainty. Put up a sign stating the expected wait time – and be honest about it. Rather announce that they’ll have to wait for another five minutes and surprise them by serving them already in three.


How do you manage the queue in your restaurant or outside your food stand? Drop us an email and let us know your best hacks, we’d love to run a follow-up article on your awesome tactics – as well as what didn’t work at all. Until next time, remember to walk-the-line.

Gustaf sjoholm Gustaf Sjöholm Blog Editor at iZettle

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