Waiting in line: it’s a common feature of our lives and it is also something which we all hate to do. Whether it’s at the grocery store, or in a clothes shop, it is the most mundane thing you can go through. In Texas, some fans of BBQ food queue for hours on end to get their fix of the good stuff, and one smart teenager has seen this as an opportunity to make some serious cash.
Desmond Roldan, 15, reckons he has made around $20,000 over the last few years due to his insanely clever business idea. Roldan, who comes from the city of Austin, stands in queues for adults looking to get their favourite BBQ food and he charges them for his time. It all started when he was 13 and offered to queue for people (for a fee) at the legendary BBQ stall “Franklins”, where customers would wait for six hours on average to get their food.
However, Franklin’s quickly cottoned onto Desmond’s idea and banned line-sitters from being in the queue, so Roldan took it upon himself to offer his services to La Barbecue, a similarly popular restaurant that has an average two-hour wait time.
On his website, Roldan says that if people prefer to queue on their own, he can offer a consulting based service to help them move forward: “If you do decide to get in the 5-6 hour line at Franklin’s, I am also offering consulting by phone (tips and tricks) in exchange for a small donation to Austin Dog Rescue.”
Speaking to The Independent, Roldan explained how he came up with the idea for the business and whether he has ever eaten someone else’s food.
So, how did Desmond come up with the idea for the business? The answer is pretty simple: “In seventh grade I was talking with my family about getting a job for the summer and I was too young to get a job. My uncle was talking about how there’s a long line at Franklin’s and that he would pay someone to wait in line and I took the idea and made it into a business.”
Desmond says that the longest he has queued for was “seven hours in the summer heat”, and that the most he has made in one queue was $200 from “a hedge fund guy”.
He adds that he tends to do his homework when he’s on the job and also says that now he has bought his car, he is using the money he makes to save up for college. Speaking about his favourite client he’s had, Desmond describes this truly lovely story of the relationship between man and BBQ: “A couple were moving away from Austin and this guy’s wife paid me to wait in line because it was her husband’s dream to have Franklin’s BBQ and he cried when we gave him his BBQ.”
He says that he likes to keep the relationship with his clients “professional” and claims that he has never been tempted to eat any of their food before. He was also keen to tell people that he is “getting good grades and I also donate some of the money I make to help rescue dogs,” which goes to show that not all businessmen are selfless a**holes.
Fair play to Desmond, right? It’s a pretty smart move from someone so young. I wish I’d been that inventive at 15, rather than trying to make it in a rock band and being obsessed with what my Myspace song was. Although, I’m not too sure I like the idea of a 15-year-old me having $20,000 to play with, it would have probably ended in tragedy.