Last Sunday, we went to lunch at the historic Serendipity 3 Cafe. Our friend had warned us that sometimes the wait can be well over an hour, so we were intrigued.
Luckily, we found parking nearby and the wait was only about 20 minutes. The space to wait inside is small, so people fill up the entryway and spill out into the street.
The hostess walked us up the narrow staircase and seated us at a small table upstairs. The decor was as advertised, cute but kitchy, from the abnormally sized ancient clock to the mosaic chandelier lighting. We shared the famous Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and enjoyed a leisurely lunch.
Abnormally leisurely, in fact.
Our server was polite and seemed otherwise very experienced but he stopped by our table only about every 20 minutes. We were ready for him at every step, ordering and paying. We weren’t in a big hurry but if we had been, the delay would have been more annoying. Servers at other tables operated at the same pace. An hour and a half later, we got him to run our credit card and made our way to the door.
Then, the nickel dropped.
The wait at the door was the same as it had been when we got there, about 20 minutes! If the twenty or so servers inside had moved even a little quicker, they could improve the ‘throughput’, seat more diners quickly and there would be no wait outside at all.
Which would completely ruin Serendipity’s story.
Some days the wait is legitimately 5 hours. That’s a great story but it falls apart if “some days you can walk right in”. The crowded entryway and the line spilling out on the sidewalk is their story.
So with a little slight of foot, a few minute delay in bringing the check, the kitchen taking a few more minutes on each order, Serendipity 3 is manufacturing scarcity to keep telling their story.