Food  |  News & Politics

This New DC Company Will Wait in Line So You Don’t Have To

Skip The Line charges at least $30 an hour to wait for a Bad Saint reservation or the iPhone X.

The line outside the red-hot Filipino eatery Bad Saint. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Jennifer Goff waited in line 97 hours—roughly four full days—for the Game of Thrones pop-up bar. The professional line sitter clocked 32 visits, each at a minimum of $30 an hour. Her longest single stretch: six hours.

What started as an odd job going up to random people and asking if they’d hire her to stand in line has since developed into a company called Skip the Line. While there are plenty of individuals who offer their standing services on TaskRabbit and Craigslist, this is one of DC’s first businesses devoted to saving you space at trendy restaurants, museum exhibits, shopping events, and more. Goff is now line-waiting full-time and has a team of three additional line-waiters to help her.

Goff previously worked in real estate, but after returning from nine months of travel in March, she started looking for something different. That’s when she saw an article about a professional line sitting service called Same Ole Line Dudes in New York. She thought it would be great to have the same thing in DC, but it wasn’t until she learned about the long waits for the Game of Thrones pop-up bar that she started to take it seriously.

Skip The Line charges a flat fee of $30 an hour for a restaurant reservation, with a two-hour minimum. For everything else (including pop-up bars), the fee depends on the size of the group: $30 for one to two people, $36 for three, and $40 for four. The company doesn’t hold space for more than four in a group so as not to totally piss off other people in line. Goff accepts reservations in advance via phone or email, but she’s looking to develop an app going forward.

No surprise: Goff has gotten the most restaurant requests for Bad Saint and Rose’s Luxury, although she also offers her services for lines at Himitsu and Little Serow. She typically arrives two hours before the restaurants open.

Goff’s next big event is the debut of the iPhone X. She already has a client who’s hired Skip the Line to wait 18 hours. “He wants to be one of the first people with the phone,” Goff says. She plans to switch off with a partner so they can take food and bathroom breaks.

Goff always comes prepared with a chair, iPad or book, umbrella, and comfortable shoes. But despite the many hours she’s spent standing or sitting, her patience for lines is strictly professional.

“I personally don’t like to wait in line,” she says. “From a business standpoint, I think it’s interesting to develop. But if I saw the Game of Thrones lines, I probably would not go to the bar.”

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.