Soon, Google will make it easier to find a quick bite, by publishing estimated wait times for service at your favourite restaurants.
Where and the worth
As an algorithm-driven detail Google says that, at launch, wait times will be visible for ‘nearly a million sit-down restaurants around the world’.
Initially, wait times will be rolling out to Google Search, and it’s expected that the same details will quickly be ported over to Google Maps (where they may make a bigger impact difference.
For sit-down eateries that target walk-in business, this could be a blessing or a big bust. As decision-making moves increasingly online and convenience becomes an expectation rather than a bonus, publicised wait times may end up being a important factor alongside review summaries.
In data we trust
Early indications are that this metric could be hard to game and expected wait times should be reasonably reliable.
Google says that its figures will be based on anonymised historical data. It’s the same way they estimate a venue’s ‘popular times and ‘visit duration’ advice.
Just as ‘good content’ often means genuinely useful information, wait time is one aspect of online reputation that may be largely about efficient real-world service.
Would your lunch plans be different if you knew the wait time of each table?
Copy Transmission is a Melbourne-based agency :: Better Brands. Loud & Clear.