Google ‘Wait Times’ : Restaurant wait times on Search and Maps

customer waiting at the restaurant

Google on Tuesday unveiled an upcoming feature that shows users the estimated wait at local restaurants (and, somewhat oddly, grocery stores).

Now you can decide whether that cronut is really worth an hour wait or plan ahead to get your fix at a time when you can avoid a wait entirely,” Quang Duong, Google Maps software engineer, wrote in a blog post.

Rolling out soon—first to Google Search, then to Maps—the service will be available for “nearly a million” sit-down restaurants around the world. Simply search Google for your favorite eatery, open the business listing, and scroll down to the “popular times” section.

There, in real time, you’ll find the estimated wait, based on “anonymized historical data” (similar to how the firm calculates popular times and visit duration).
google maps and search
Real-time restaurant info (via Google)

The displayed wait time, according to Google’s support page, is determined by “patterns of customer visits over the last several weeks.”

Estimations differ depending on the type of business: A sit-down restaurant, for instance, will reflect how long patrons can expect to wait before being seated. A grocery store, meanwhile, shows the length of time customers wait to check out their items.
The best part: You won’t have to push your way through a horde of people lingering in the restaurant vestibule, just to learn there is a 45-minute wait, before fighting the mob again to leave.

In a hurry today? Scroll left and right in Google’s apps to see a summary of each day’s wait times below the hour bars—”so you can plan ahead to beat the crowds,” Duong said.

There is no word on exactly when the new function will launch, or on which platforms it will be available. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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