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November 07, 2017

Hungry? Google can now tell you the wait time at restaurants, grocery stores

Technology Google
whole foods sandwiches Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

This file photo from October 2016 shows sandwiches at the deli counter display inside the Whole Foods Market in Philadelphia's Spring Garden neighborhood.

Google premiered a new feature Tuesday that could save you from standing in line for groceries or being shunned by the host at your favorite restaurant.

Using data from about 1 million restaurants and grocery stores, a Google search of, for example, Little Nonna’s, will not only give you the usual restaurant info, but also when you can expect the restaurant to be busiest -- in this case, there’s a small lunch rush and peak crowds at 7 p.m.

In addition to the popular times feature, though, googling a restaurant when it’s already opened will give you a live, real-time estimate of the wait there. For example, anyone trying to grocery shop at Whole Foods early this Tuesday morning are in luck.

After typing a restaurant’s name, access the Wait Times feature by opening the listing and clicking on the hour bars for more estimates. This could come in particularly handy for those bars and restaurants that don’t take reservations (looking at you, Monk's).

According to the Huffington Post, Google hopes to have the wait times ready for most grocery stores by Thanksgiving, so you can plan your turkey purchasing accordingly.

Wait times will initially be available for mobile and desktop search before becoming a Google Maps feature.