Google Local Wait Times For Restaurants Inaccurate

Oct 16, 2020 • 7:51 am | comments (0) by twitter | Filed Under Google Maps
 

Remember the days where you use to look at Google Maps to see how busy a place was before you went there? Oh you still do that, to make sure it is not busy at all because of the plaque? Well, it seems to be broken. Google wait times for restaurants and probably other local businesses are simply off.

Google added popular times in 2016 and live wait times ion 2017 and they have worked well. I mean, they worked well before COVID-19 came along.

There are a number of complaints this month in the Google My Business Help threads that the local wait times are simply not accurate. In fact, local SEO expert, Mike Blumenthal, said "one can only conclude based on this and your observations that Google's historical data is no longer accurate due to the changing nature of things."

Here is what these live wait times look like:

But the issue is, these restaurants are empty, there are no wait times. Here are some of the complaints for owners:

We would like the Wait Times feature on Google Search and Google Maps to more accurately show average wait times for each location. It seems to show an average wait time of 3 hours when less than 1 hour is more accurate. In fact, its very likely closer to 15 - 25 minutes.

We're having the very same issue at our restaurant as well. I just noticed it today. We're in low season in a resort, in the middle of a Pandemic, with very low visitor traffic, and it's showing a wait time of 45 minutes. Actual wait time is zero. Even in high season the wait time is minimal. Certainly nothing approaching 45 minutes.

It's happening at our restaurant too. Wait time should be more like 10-15 minutes. Restaurant name is Pomella in Oakland, CA:

Hi everyone, same problem for us. It says that we have a 2: 45h waiting time for lunch..we serve Thai fast food so the actual time during lunch is 4-6 minutes. This is not good advertising for our company, hope Google takes a look at this if we are to be credible. Otherwise you (Google) do a great job!

I have the same issue, no wait time, need it change or deleted, no wait time, especially in this environment, would think Google would make that area editable Name of restaurant Mis Suenos, 7335 W. Greenfield, West Allis Wi.

The complaints go on and on.

The Google help document says "This graph shows how busy your location typically is during different times of the day. Popular times are based on average popularity over the last few months. Popularity for any given hour is shown relative to the typical peak popularity for the business for the week."

It has been 6+ months with very little traffic in these restaurants, but yet the charts really did not seem to update to reflect that?

Joy Hawkins "did raise your concerns to Google and they are aware of the situation. Please keep the examples coming," Mike Blumenthal said.

I wonder if this announcement from yesterday is why this feature is messed up?

Google wrote "Google Maps’ popular times algorithms have long been able to identify busyness patterns for a place. With social distancing measures established and businesses adjusting hours or even closing temporarily due to COVID-19, our historical data was no longer as reliable in predicting what current conditions would be. To make our systems more nimble, we began favoring more recent data from the previous four to six weeks to quickly adapt to changing patterns for popular times and live busyness information–with plans to bring a similar approach to other features like wait times soon."

So maybe a fix is coming?

Forum discussion at Google My Business Help.

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