How your Wait Time is Estimated

This article explains how wait time is calculated and how you can set up the wait time estimation the best way possible for your business

Christina Kokkinou avatar
Written by Christina Kokkinou
Updated over a week ago

The number one question asked when guests have to wait in line is “how long is the wait?”. Waitwhile takes advantage of the detailed data captured in a virtual queue to make wait time estimations readily available for both employees and guests depending on your preference.

This article aims to help you understand how we calculate your wait times and guide you through any setup that may be required to fit the estimations to your business.

Step 1: Define Serve Capacity

Regardless of the method used you first need to configure your Serve capacity. This lets us know how many guests or parties you can serve simultaneously to better estimate the wait times. Wait time estimations will decrease as you increase the serve capacity.

  • If you have resources activated we will automatically use the active resources to determine the serve capacity. No steps are required.

  • If you do not have resources activated we need you to let us know how many guests or parties you can serve at the same time (i.e. number of cashiers or tables). Steps to provide serve capacity:

    1. Navigate to Settings > Waitlist and scroll until you see “Wait times”

    2. Under the header Serve Capacity type the number of people or parties you can serve at one time.

Step 2: Pick an Estimation Method

At Waitwhile we have two primary ways you can configure your locations wait time estimation. Pick one of these methods, once you click on the one you wish to set up, you’ll be taken to the help article that explains the steps:

  • Intelligent Wait Time Estimation

    What is it and how does it work?

    Intelligent Wait Time Estimation takes the millions of data points captured in Waitwhile when guests wait in line to train a machine learning model to learn the patterns in wait times. Our model will learn from many data points attached to a visit such as time of day, the number of servers available, party size, and more.

  • Classic Wait Time Estimation

    What is it and how does it work?

    By activating Classic Wait Time Estimation you need to configure the settings correctly to have an accurate estimation. At the most basic level, this method uses your inputs to determine the expected time to service each individual in line and then together for everyone in line to get to the estimated wait time. For this reason, service durations play the most important role in predicting the wait time of a queue.

    This method is flexible and can account for many additional nuances such as Business hours, Staffing hours, Number of active servers, Current guests being served, Buffer times between guests, Type of service, Influence of party size, Speed of individual resources, Etc.

Wait time Estimation FAQ?

  • My wait time estimation says ‘n/a’, why?

    • There could be several reasons the estimated wait says ‘n/a’. You can see the reason by clicking on the ‘n/a’. The most common reasons are that no resources are available to serve guests or you are outside your waitlist hours.

  • What happens when a guest gets in line outside of business hours?

    • If you get into line outside of business hours, it will calculate the individual visit’s wait time to include the amount of time until the waitlist is reopened plus the expected wait time when the line opens.

  • What happens if a guest selects multiple services for a single visit?

    • If you are using Classic Wait Time Estimation, the expected serve duration for each service is added together and taken into consideration when calculating the estimated wait time.

  • Does the wait time estimation account for the reaming time it will take for the current server to finish assisting their current guest?

    • Yes, the Classic Wait Time Estimation directly accounts for the estimated time left for the current serving guest to be completed.

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