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For many diners, the very first interaction with your restaurant won’t be in person. 90% of guests say they research restaurants online before deciding where to go and what to eat. While some of those searchers will inevitably end up on your website, many others will get their first taste of what you have to offer through third-party profiles such as Google Business.

Tools like local SEO – the practice of optimizing your site for local search traffic so you improve visibility and reach more people in your geographic area – are incredibly important. By following expert recommendations, restaurants can improve organic traffic (the kind you don’t have to pay for) and climb to the top of the results page.

A big piece of the puzzle is leveraging Google Business for your restaurant. This powerful tool transforms what would have been a generic listing into a powerful, local-centric strategy to introduce consumers to your restaurant and set your company up for success.

What is Google Business?

First things first. Google Business is essentially a business profile that ties into the Google network. In addition to basic information like your business’s name, operating hours, address, and phone number, Google Business listings are able to link to Google Maps and incorporate feeds from Google Shopping and Search.

When people conduct a local search for your business, they may encounter:

  • A Google Knowledge Panel: These snapshot-like information boxes are automatically generated using data that Google’s AI bots cull from various sources all over the internet. Business owners can claim their knowledge panels and update or correct information. General users can also contribute to help verify and improve the accuracy of the panel.
  • Google Local Finder: If you’ve ever searched for a local business, you’ve encountered a list of options that generate at the top of your search results. That’s Local Finder.
  • Google Maps: The Google Map integration leads searchers to both app- and browser-based directions that makes it easy for hungry consumers to find their restaurant of choice.

Think of your Google Business listing like a virtual storefront. Customers are already scrolling by, so all you have to do is claim your listing and update its details. Additionally, adding in some content from time to time gives you an opportunity to slow down digital traffic, giving your listing a chance to rank organically. Doing that also improves the other Google assets listed above and makes your restaurant more attractive. Win-win!

Is Google Business free?

Creating and managing your Google Business for your restaurant is free. That includes your main GB profile as well as related assets like Google Maps.

How do I list my restaurant on Google Business?

The first step is to either claim an existing listing for your business or sign up from scratch by visiting Google’s Business Profile page

You’ll be able to add correct hours, post photos, share info about special events or promos like weekday happy hours, holiday promotions, and so much more. 

Remember, this is your restaurant’s first chance to make a good impression. You can showcase your personality, upload logos and other branded material, or reassure consumers about the current safety measures your business has in place.

10 ways to optimize your Google Business profile

While your Google Business listing is a phenomenal marketing tool, the true goal of your profile is to make it easier for new diners to find you when they search online. Goal #2? Make it easier for those newly attracted

diners to place an order for takeout or delivery.

1. Check your Google restaurant profile for accuracy

The only thing worse than no information is incorrect information. Ensure your listing includes your name, address, and phone number. Also double-check the category for your business is correct.

2. Make sure you have correct hours of operation

Add your hours of operation and update them as needed. For instance, you may need to add special holiday hours or a change in closing time for the summer or winter season. COVID-19 restrictions may have also impacted your hours. Using the link to learn how to mark your business as “Temporarily closed,” manage dining options, add health and safety attributes, update your menu, accept food orders online, and so much more.

3. Link your restaurant website or online ordering site

Some 60% of consumers say they order delivery or takeout weekly and 34% of consumers spend more — to the tune of $50 on average — when they order grub to-go via online apps. It literally pays to give consumers access to online ordering, so if conversion and driving revenue is important to your business, then add your ordering link to your GB listing.

When you sign up with Grubhub, your restaurant also gets access to Grubhub Direct. Completely free to set-up, use, and maintain, Grubhub Direct is your very own branded online ordering website customized for your restaurant. A place where you can reach new customers, increase sales, and never pay a marketing fee on any orders – ever. All the benefits, none of the stress!

How can I add my Direct site to my Google Business?

  • Go to Google Business and log in with your business ID
  • Head over to the info section and add your Direct site under the “Add website” option
  • Enter your site URL, click apply and you’re good to go!

4. Describe your restaurant following Google Guidelines

What’s your restaurant all about? Google suggests creating a business description that highlights “what makes your business unique.” However, there are some caveats. As you fill the provided field with information on services, products offered, your mission, and your company history, Google asks that you follow other guidelines including:

  • Limiting your description to a max length of 750 characters
  • Avoiding misleading, inaccurate, or false information about your offerings
  • Review your content for anything that could be considered irrelevant or distracting — Google doesn’t like typos or gimmicky characters
  • Do not include offensive or inappropriate content such as explicit or exploitative text or anything that could be considered hate speech

For a more comprehensive look at what Google does and does not want you to include in your restaurant’s Google Business, check out their business description guidelines.

5. Include photos of your restaurant and menu

In today’s digital age, a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s also a smart way to convey your restaurant’s atmosphere and cuisine without that description getting lost in translation. “Chic” and “fancy” mean different things to different people, but a picture of your décor or a snapshot of a culturally unique dish will help guests understand what to expect and even help them choose. 

Luckily when you join Grubhub, we send out a photographer to take high-quality, professional photos of you, your restaurant, and your delicious menu items. Google’s step-by-step guide to adding and removing photos shows you how you can add a logo and cover photo and use pictures to highlight your restaurant’s best features.

6. Do you offer reservations? Add that to your GB, too

Use Reserve with Google to create a waitlist on your Google Business listing. Or, if you use another platform to organize your bookings, you can integrate that third-party provider with your GB account, too.

7. Add your menu to your Google Business restaurant listing

Online menus are crucial not only for attracting customers but also because they’re so easy to share. Imagine a group of friends wants to order food for a movie night get-together or birthday party. One person searches for local restaurants, finds your menu, and shares it with others. You’ve got gorgeous pictures in place, and now everyone’s mouths are watering. 

With 93% of consumers looking up restaurant menus before dining out, posting your menu is practically a requirement. Follow Google’s menu guide to add dishes to Google Maps, flag dish photos posted by users, add menu data to your GMB, and insert a menu URL.

8. Promote a welcome offer for customers who follow you on Google Business

Freebies are a great way to make friends. Discounts are also exciting and a great way to attract new diners. Welcome new customers who find you through your GB by extending a promotional deal as a thank you. Your offer could be almost anything; perhaps you give new followers a free kids meal with the purchase of a regular entrée or buy-one-get-one desserts.

You can create offers through Google Business using their mobile app. The “turn followers into customers” function includes functionality for setting up, editing, and deleting offers with a few quick taps of your smartphone or tablet’s keyboard.

9. Take advantage of Google Business posts

You likely already have some kind of social media strategy in place that includes posting about special events, new menu items, and general restaurant updates. But did you know that you can share those same posts via your Google Business website too?

While posting on Facebook or Instagram is certainly key, those platforms mostly connect you to consumers who are already aware of and/or following your restaurant’s page. Posting through your GB business profile takes all your enticing info straight to new customers who are actively looking for somewhere to eat or order from. The picture

of your chef’s salmon special or a reminder about that night’s live entertainment could be the thing that turns a casual searcher into a loyal diner.

Google’s posting guide offers even more insight into the benefits of posting on your GB page, the types of posts you can make, and an inside look at how posts are displayed once submitted.

10. Add or edit attributes to introduce customers to important business details and recent changes

Google’s business profile attributes are invaluable. You can identify your restaurant as being women-owned, let customers know you have online seating, or indicate to remote workers that you have strong Wi-Fi at the ready.

Learn how to set and update attributes and they’ll show up on your GB profile on Google Search and Google Maps.

Why having Google Business for your restaurant matters

Approximately 84% of searches are discovery based, meaning a consumer searched for a certain type of business, product, or service and discovered a specific listing. Businesses that utilize GB get an average of just over 1,000 new hits each month, making Google Business profiles one of the most potent tools restaurant owners have at their disposal.

When you optimize the technical aspects of your restaurant, you significantly increase the experience of your diners. Download our guide on how to Build Your Brand and Boost Your Business so you can set your restaurant up for success and allow your customers an experience to remember fondly.

Interested in learning how you can use Google Business to drive commission-free orders through your own branded online ordering website?

Join Grubhub Direct