iPhone map glitch costing Portland restaurant thousands

iPhone map glitch costing Portland restaurant thousands

PORTLAND, Ore. - Bar owner Todd Steele gets the same question five or six times a day.

“Where are you guys located?”

It sounds like a pretty common question, especially for a wine bar and restaurant like Metrovino that’s tucked way.

But the reasons behind the confusion stem from the fact that potential patrons are trying to use the Apple mapping app on their iPhones to find the upscale Pearl District spot.

Therein lays the problem. The map mistakenly targets Metrovino as being located in Southwest Portland (think downtown and the Goose Hollow areas) instead of Northwest Portland (like the Pearl District).

The map guides people blocks away from the restaurant’s real location, so understandably they’re getting lost.

And that means lost revenue.

“We’re guessing on the low end $500 to $1,000 a night. A night,” Metrovino owner Todd Steele said. That means, “around $50,000 since mid-September.”

Metrovino is not alone. Steele said he’s talked with a number of other business owners experiencing the same problem.

The confusion came last fall when Apple dropped Google as its map provider with the launch of its iOS 6 software.

In October, CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology, urging customers to use other apps, like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, as it works to improve the maps app.

Still, it’s not just restaurants falling victim to map confusion. Apple’s map has misplaced towns. In Australia, for instance, folks trying to find Mildura were detoured 45 miles from the town. One man was stranded for 24 hours in 114-degree heat.

The mistake received international attention and Apple eventually fixed the locator pin on the map.

But what about Portland’s Metrovino?

Steele has tried to get Apple to fix the glitch to no avail.

“It got so bad at one point that my mom, who is a partner in the business, actually walked into Apple headquarters in Cupertino,” Steele said. She didn’t have any success.

KATU’s attempts to reach an Apple spokesperson on Tuesday also were not successful.