Going out to dinner on a Saturday night can be more difficult than waiting for hours just to sit. Fortunately, Google Maps has some very useful data that can help you avoid headaches the next time you visit your favorite restaurant.
Google Maps now displays the average wait time and live wait time to certain days and times as one million restaurants worldwide. This feature is available for iOS and Android and will take the nasty surprise of long waits out of the equation. Now that you know how long it takes to wait for a table, you can better plan your trip so you can sit at the right time.
Finding Waits and Peak Times in Google Maps
The next time you want to try a new restaurant, open Google Maps and type the name in the search bar. Once the restaurant appears on the map, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to display the restaurant's information card. Scroll down from there until you see the Popular Times section.
See "Popular Times" for a graphic showing the hours most visited for this restaurant. The displayed information refers to the current day and even displays a pink bar for some restaurants to show just how busy the restaurant is.
If you plan in advance, you can change the displayed day by: Touch the Popular Times drop-down menu and select a different day of the week. Alternatively, you can swipe left or right across the graph to switch between days.
Most restaurants even have an hourglass icon that displays the waiting times on the selected day of the week, so you know when should not go to that restaurant. Finally, a timer icon will be displayed indicating how long people normally stay in the restaurant. All in all, it's pretty helpful information – the kind of data that only Google can provide.
This article was created during the special coverage of gadget hacks about traveling with your smartphone. Take a look at the entire travel series.