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The search engine is making it even easier to make dinner plans.

Elisabeth Sherman
November 07, 2017

Making last minute dinner plans usually goes something like this: Open up Google and search restaurants in your neighborhood. Maybe you find a new spot or need the phone number of one you’ve been to before so you can make a reservation. If it’s a Friday night, you figure you’re going to have to wait for a table, but for how long? Then comes the familiar debate: Should the group get a drink at the bar if there’s a long wait, or go back to online and find somewhere less crowded? Starting today, Google will simplify that process by telling you the restaurant’s average wait times.

This additional feature is a simple one, but its also incredibly helpful. Instead of going to a restaurant where there might be a 30-minute wait, probably already starving, you can find the restaurant with the shortest wait on Google from home. If it turns out all your favorite places are packed, then you can let yourself order-in, guilt-free.

Right now, 1 million restaurants have the wait times feature on Google, and there are plans to add even more. Ahead of Thanksgiving, they’ll even be adding the feature to grocery stores, where throngs of people are likely to be stocking on last-minute dinner supplies.

There’s already a “popular times” section in the Google results for restaurants, which lets you know when restaurants are at their busiest, letting you plan ahead if you like to a quieter, calmer dining experience. The wait times feature makes it even easier to decide when and where to eat, especially at restaurants that don’t take reservations and in those inevitable cases of last minute plans.

On the other hand, maybe you actually want to find the restaurant with the longest wait time. You could be dealing with friends who are always late. Or maybe you’re hoping to catch up with your mom over a glass of wine before dinner. Either way, Google has you covered.