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Google Communications The Internet

Google To Add Restaurant Wait Times To Google Search, Maps (techcrunch.com) 59

Google Search and Maps already show you the peak traffic times for your favorite restaurants, but it will soon show you the wait times as well. Google says the feature begins rolling out today, and will eventually expand to include grocery stores. TechCrunch reports: Google's new restaurant wait times also comes from the aggregated and anonymized data from users who opted in to Google Location History -- the same data that powers popular times, wait times and visit duration. In the case of restaurants, Google will now include a pop-up box that appears when you click on a time frame in the popular times' chart. The box shows the live or historical data labeled as "busy," "usually busy," "usually not busy," etc., along with the wait time. Below the popular times chart, there's also a section that helps users plan their visit by offering info on the peak wait times and duration. (e.g. "People typically spend 45 mins to 2 hr here.") The new wait time feature will be supported on nearly a million sit-down restaurant listings worldwide, initially in Google Search.
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Google To Add Restaurant Wait Times To Google Search, Maps

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  • by ickleberry ( 864871 ) <web@pineapple.vg> on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @05:53AM (#55512333) Homepage
    I doubt Eric Schmidt stands in a queue waiting for a table to become available and it's a bit of an insult to think he expects other people to do that. If a place is so busy you have to queue, good chance there is a deserted place just down the road waiting to dole out a nice meal. Or if there isn't simply go home and cook your own food just like in the good old days. Save a pile of money too

    Restaurant-queuing seems to be a cultural phenomenon associated mostly with America. It's not unusual to see a mile-long queue for a restaurant in America but in other parts of the world if there's a few waiting by the door people deem it to be busy and quickly move on to the next place.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Queuing is common in Japan too. If a restaurant has a good reputation people are willing to wait.

    • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @06:26AM (#55512389)

      "Restaurant-queuing seems to be a cultural phenomenon associated mostly with America. It's not unusual to see a mile-long queue for a restaurant in America but in other parts of the world if there's a few waiting by the door people deem it to be busy and quickly move on to the next place."

      Exactly my thoughts. I would never wait at a restaurant, I eat in restaurant 4-5 times a week an I always have a reservation and I always get my table immediately.
      Either there are not enough restaurants in the US or the management is incompetent or they are just greedy and they accept way too many reservations, just like the US airlines.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Most go out of business within their first year. By most, I mean nearly all. New owner. Repeat.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Some of it is artificial scarcity. People will only pay a small fortune to eat somewhere if it is exclusive and hard to get a table.

        At least that's what I learned from Frasier.

      • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @07:04AM (#55512479)

        "Restaurant-queuing seems to be a cultural phenomenon associated mostly with America. It's not unusual to see a mile-long queue for a restaurant in America but in other parts of the world if there's a few waiting by the door people deem it to be busy and quickly move on to the next place."

        Densely populated areas of people with disposable income create a queuing demand. The concept is not unique to America. See well-known noodle shops in Japan where people wait hours for their favorite bowl.

        ...Either there are not enough restaurants in the US or the management is incompetent or they are just greedy and they accept way too many reservations, just like the US airlines.

        There are a metric fuckton of restaurants in the US. The REAL problem is many of them do not accept reservations. They see queues as a way to drive popularity based on hype. Long queues somehow mean it must be the place to eat, and the wait is somehow worth it. This tactic is also a way to drive more revenue by enticing customers to purchase overpriced drinks at the bar while they wait for a table.

        The pathetic part is realizing that this bullshit no-reservation policy works. If we want to change this, then we have to get rid of the fucking stupid mentality that queues are somehow hip and cool.

        • The pathetic part is realizing that this bullshit no-reservation policy works. If we want to change this, then we have to get rid of the fucking stupid mentality that queues are somehow hip and cool.

          Hear! Hear! Instead of using the time to wait in line, I'd rather barbequeue.

        • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          The pathetic part is realizing that this bullshit no-reservation policy works. If we want to change this, then we have to get rid of the fucking stupid mentality that queues are somehow hip and cool.

          It doesn't help that since the invention of online reservations, actual reservation fulfillment has dropped - instead of people making one reservation ahead of time and going to that restaurant, they make 10 reservations through OpenTable and then pick one of those and screw the other 9.

          So restaurants have two o

          • The pathetic part is realizing that this bullshit no-reservation policy works. If we want to change this, then we have to get rid of the fucking stupid mentality that queues are somehow hip and cool.

            It doesn't help that since the invention of online reservations, actual reservation fulfillment has dropped - instead of people making one reservation ahead of time and going to that restaurant, they make 10 reservations through OpenTable and then pick one of those and screw the other 9.

            What happens when you reserve an Uber or Lyft and you do not show up?

            Exactly. It's amazing how well you can curb asshole behavior when fees are involved. Change the OpenTable TOS to hold a credit card and enforce fees for cancellations. Problem solved.

            So restaurants have two options - one is to take a credit card and have a "no-show" fee for reserving a table you're not going to occupy (but it costs the restaurant a table and creates a queue outside), or simply not take reservations at all.

            And yes, no-shows are a big deal, because they occupy a table that could otherwise be used to serve a walk-in guest. Instead, that guest is now sitting waiting for a table, creating a queue. Yes, there are restaurants who hate queues too - they want guests in and eating and out so t hey can serve the next round - high throughput for high profits.

            Part of the reason people don't mind waiting in queues and hanging out paying for overpriced drinks is they are enjoying the experience. The experience is exactly the reason I'll happily take 3+ hours to eat dinner at a restaurant. High-throughput is not

          • In Germany/France a reservation gets void 15 minutes after the appointed time.
            I never saw a queue in front of a restaurant anyway.
            And clubs that fancy queues I don't visit ... not worth it anyway as they close in a few months :)

      • by cstacy ( 534252 )

        " I would never wait at a restaurant, I eat in restaurant 4-5 times a week an I always have a reservation and I always get my table immediately. Either there are not enough restaurants in the US or the management is incompetent or they are just greedy and they accept way too many reservations, just like the US airlines.

        In the US, lots of people live in the suburbs, and the restaurants are mostly national or regional chains clustered near a shopping mall. When middle-class people to out to eat, this is where they go. And those restaurants do not take reservations. The normal wait time if you arrive before the worst rush hour will be 20-50 minutes. A few will be able to fit in the bar and drink, the rest will be in a line outside. Everyone will have a pager.

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        Either there are not enough restaurants in the US or the management is incompetent or they are just greedy and they accept way too many reservations, just like the US airlines.

        How about the most obvious answer: people do not want to make a reservation. I also eat at restaurants frequently. The only time we ever make a reservation is if there will be a large group, or we have to be somewhere at a specific time after dinner, or if it is a place that is impossible to get into without a reservation. We would MUCH rather have to wait a while for a table than be tied down to having to be at a specific place at a specifc time just to eat dinner.

        Also, US airlines do not 'accept way t

    • A too busy restaurant can mean you will be served under cooked food or the wrong items. The staff may be stressed trying to meet the demand and wages are low in my area and many depend on tips for income. Servers do not share tips with the kitchen staff.
      • Um no. A restaurant that isn't busy is *usually* inferior to a busy restaurant. The reason you see queues in American restaurants is that some restaurants don't take reservations, or people show up without reservations and are willing to wait.
    • by rfengr ( 910026 )
      Supermarket queuing is a Soviet phenomenon. I’ll take American queuing.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I doubt Eric Schmidt stands in a queue waiting for a table to become available and it's a bit of an insult to think he expects other people to do that. If a place is so busy you have to queue, good chance there is a deserted place just down the road waiting to dole out a nice meal. Or if there isn't simply go home and cook your own food just like in the good old days. Save a pile of money too

      Restaurant-queuing seems to be a cultural phenomenon associated mostly with America. It's not unusual to see a mile-long queue for a restaurant in America but in other parts of the world if there's a few waiting by the door people deem it to be busy and quickly move on to the next place.

      Most of the world figured out that booking is easier than queuing many years ago. Queueing is something that only strokes an owners ego, which is why we only see for certain bars and clubs where insecurity is rife.

      Lets take two cities, London, England vs Perth Australia. London is one of the worlds greatest cities, Perth is an overgrown mining town. I've lived in both and I'll let you guess which one makes me line up to get into a popular bar or club.

      If you guessed London, you'd be wrong. In London I

      • by cstacy ( 534252 )

        Most of the world figured out that booking is easier than queuing many years ago.

        Decades ago, reservations were the norm in the US. You call ahead earlier in the day, and you are seated when you arrive. This is now a rarity. Most restaurants do not accept reservations at all. Those that do have a waiting line when you arrive at the scheduled time. (You show up at 7:00 and are greeted, yes you're right on time. Please wait here. For about 45 minutes. While we try to get you a table.) The norm is no reservations: they hand you a pager and you wait in line outside.

    • Actually, criticizing people's free choice to wait in line if they wish to go to a particular place is for fools. Look in a mirror. Personally I make reservations or wait no longer than 5-10 minutes if it's a spontaneous outing.

    • When I lived in Memphis in late 90s, it was not uncommon in my part of town to have lines at every restaurant in the area, in part because they were so short-staffed. And they all had banners offering cash signing bonuses for servers. I stopped eating out weekend evenings and Sunday mornings.

    • I doubt Eric Schmidt stands in a queue waiting for a table to become available and it's a bit of an insult to think he expects other people to do that.

      Isn't avoiding the queue the point of the feature? Instead of arriving at the restaurant and discovering it has an unacceptable wait time to me, I can select another restaurant without physically visiting the one with the large queue.

    • by ttsai ( 135075 )

      Restaurant-queuing seems to be a cultural phenomenon associated mostly with America. It's not unusual to see a mile-long queue for a restaurant in America but in other parts of the world if there's a few waiting by the door people deem it to be busy and quickly move on to the next place.

      In certain countries, especially in Europe, restaurant patrons often spend the entire evening eating dinner, i.e., there is no turnover. For those situations, queues obviously wouldn't exist. In contrast in the US, the restaurants try to encourage turnover.

      • Exactly.
        When I go into a restaurant in the evening, I sit for hours.
        If I'm acquainted with the staff/owner I often stay till it closes.

  • them make Waze learn about traffic lights

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do people actually wait at a packed restaurant until a table is available? I haven't really encountered this problem, but I suppose I would simply go to a different restaurant.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'd really like to have a gas/food/pee pitstop button that finds a place that is:

    (0) IN FRONT OF YOU
    (1) Close to the highway
    (2) Easy to get into and out of
    (3) Clean
    (4) And no kid's play areas...it's either 45 minute delay and tears/anger!

    OK, maybe not (4), but definitely the others.

  • by ThomasBHardy ( 827616 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2017 @09:17AM (#55512973)

    The "big thing" would be if they spent some effort getting menu info. If i could ask google maps where the closest place is that has fish and chips, or massaman curry and get a list of places that had the dish and with ratings at the dish level, it would totally change how we pick restaurants.

  • Google Maps should list the wait time at the McDonald's Drive Thru.

  • Am I living in the future?

  • Hospital wait times and walk-in clinic wait times would be fabulous.
  • I can see how Google Location can record the times of arrival and departure at an address. However, how would they know when a patron is seated? Does the phone user have to push a button? Or does Google have knowledge of the interior layout of the restaurant along with a method for determining interior location? Aside from the difficulty in obtaining interior table mapping, many restaurants have waiting areas within a few feet of the nearest table, necessitating location tracking to a resolution of a fe

  • The establishment wants you to go sit in the bar for a while and spend extra money on drinks before being seated.

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