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Is Your Restaurant Chain Employing ‘Google My Business’ Listings?

Coral Drake | September 14, 2023 |

Marketing 101 Featured
Is Your Restaurant Chain Employing ‘Google My Business’ Listings?

In the constant opportunity for restaurant chains to attract local attention, two tools can’t be overlooked: Google My Business (GMB) and Google Ads. GMB listings ensure your local presence has digital representation and Google Ads amplify that listing to reach a broader audience. 

These tools take your dollar further than just about any other marketing strategy, so if your restaurant chain isn’t using them, it’s time to start. Furthermore, an unclaimed restaurant GMB listing could actively hurt your business. 

So, the following points will outline what using Google My Business and Google Ads together can do for your restaurant chain:

  • Become the top spot for local searches. If you claim your listing on GMB, when potential customers search for dining options nearby, your restaurant chain's locations populate in the search results. Combine this with Google Ads, especially if you aren’t ranking in the search results as well as you’d like. When you leverage both of these tools, your restaurant can appear at the very top of search results for every location in which you operate. 
  • Make it easy for customers to connect with you. When your ad or GMB listing appears, in addition to displaying your nearest restaurant location, it also populates a click-to-call button and provides directions, making it easier for customers to choose your restaurant.
  • Boost your ad performance with reviews. Is your brand doing well with customers? Get ready for more. Positive reviews on your GMB listing make your ads seem more credible and make it more likely that they’ll provide you with return on your investment. 
  • Gain data-driven insights: GMB provides insights into how customers find your listing and interact with it. This data is invaluable for informing your Google Ads strategy. If you notice a surge in searches for a specific location or dish, you can create targeted ads to capitalize on it.
  • Offer a unified brand experience. Consistency is key for restaurant chains. Integrating GMB with Google Ads enables branding, promotions, and information to remain consistent, whether a customer is viewing an ad or checking out a GMB listing. This also makes it more likely that the customer will make the transition from ad to listing and actually end up ordering from your restaurant.
  • Optimize your ad spend with local insights: Depending on where they are, your locations might have varying levels of competition and differing customer preferences. By analyzing GMB insights you can budget ads effectively. Bid competitively in high-demand areas and save your money in places you’re already ranking at the top of the search results with your GMB listing alone. 
  • Open the door to remarketing opportunities. When customers visit your GMB listing but don’t make a reservation you can retarget them through Ads with special offers or reminders, nudging them towards conversion.

Why Use Google My Business?

Google is the most popular search engine in the world, and therefore, the primary way that your customers are searching for restaurants. Google My Business results are the first ones the search engine shows customers. GMB listings are directly linked to Google Maps so customers can find your restaurant by looking for what’s closest to them. 

GMB listings are entirely free. Yes, you read that right. Why not capitalize on free marketing? Restaurant chains can list all their locations, provide essential details, showcase their menu, and interact with customers without spending a dime with a restaurant GMB listing. A client can find your restaurant, view the menu, and order online without exerting any effort in marketing or client service. 

Furthermore, you take a big risk by not using it. 

Even if you don't claim your GMB listing, your restaurants will still likely appear in Google local listings. Customers, or even Google itself, can create a listing for your restaurant. While this might sound harmless or even beneficial, there's a catch.

Customers can leave reviews, including negative ones, on your unclaimed Google My Business listing. Without claiming and managing your listing you won’t be able to respond to that review. You probably know how important it is to respond to reviews, both positive and negative, and understand the damage of uncontested negative reviews. 

By the way, you can bet your competition will notice you’re not responding to the reviews and take advantage of the opportunity to bring down your reputation. If this happens, your inactivity on a Google local listing could boost the competition’s business. 

On the other hand, by claiming your GMB listing, chain restaurants can nurture customer relationships by promptly responding to reviews and addressing common queries. 

Why Use Google Ads?

Google is the first place people go to find a restaurant near them. No other marketing tactic provides access to a constant stream of pre-qualified leads 24/7 like Google. 

Great Return on Investment

A hungry Google searcher who uses a keyword relating to your restaurant is a superb lead. There’s a higher potential for return on investment (ROI) when the customer is actively searching for a restaurant like yours.

Restaurants typically enjoy a low cost-per-click (CPC), a high click-through rate (CTR), and a commendable conversion rate. With thoughtful optimization, these metrics can be even better, ensuring you get more value for your money.

Unlike organic search engine optimization (SEO), which is a long-term strategy, Google Ads provide immediate results. Gauge the effectiveness of your ads, make adjustments, and see the results in real time.

Worried about spending too much? Google Ads allow you to set a daily budget to ensure you don't overspend. You also have control over when and where the ads appear, allowing for efficient use of your budget.

Outranking Rideshares and Competitors

It’s not just about attracting leads, it’s about protecting them. Competitors and especially delivery apps bid on keywords related to your restaurant. If competitors outrank you on Google, they’ll probably win the customers too. 

If rideshares rank higher than you in search results, customers might order through them instead of directly from you, causing you to lose out on valuable customer data and have to pay commissions to the app. 

With Google Ads, you appear at the top of search results, ensuring you capture these customers directly.

Targeted Advertising

Google Ads campaigns provide insights into your customers' preferences. By researching the right keywords and monitoring campaign performance, you can keep tweaking the ads to get better returns for every location in your restaurant chain

Geotargeting ensures you're reaching potential customers within your service area, preventing wasted advertising dollars and frustrated customers who realize you’re too far to order from or visit. 

Customer Insights

Google Ads allow you to understand and tap into the various stages of the customer journey, from initial interest to final conversion. You can also launch remarketing campaigns. 

For instance, you can advertise daily lunch specials to past website visitors during lunch hours. Such campaigns are cost-effective and target customers who have already shown interest in your restaurant.

By connecting the insights you get through Google Ads with other data to analyze sales, labor, and payments, you can get a thorough understanding of customer behavior to develop more effective marketing campaigns. 

Isn’t a Website or Social Media Enough?

Not in today’s digital world. When potential customers search for restaurants near them, GMB listings appear at the top of search results, above your website, regardless of how great it might be. You need a restaurant GMB listing to get in those top results. 

GMB integrates directly with Google Reviews. Positive reviews can boost a restaurant's reputation, and you can respond directly to feedback, both positive and negative. 

While you can get some interaction like this on your social pages or website, this requires maintaining whatever platforms your customers are using that week. Searches on Google are much more consistent, which means your reviews and feedback are more likely to end up in front of potential customers who Google local listings than if you’re just on social media. 

GMB listings provide quick access to vital details like operating hours, location, contact information, and even the menu right on the search result screen. This immediate access is more efficient and appealing to customers than navigating a website.

GMB offers deep insights into how customers find the restaurant, whether through direct searches or discovery searches, invaluable for marketing strategies and not necessarily available about customers' interactions with your website. 

Capitalizing on Earnings: Google Ads for Restaurant Chains

For restaurant chains, the potential of Google Ads isn't just about visibility; it's about tailoring strategies to maximize earnings across locations. Here's how chains can optimize their campaigns:

1. Adjust Bidding Strategies:

Different locations might have varying competition. In a densely populated urban area with many restaurants, you might need to bid higher to stand out. In contrast, in a suburban area with fewer competitors, a lower bid might suffice.

2. Make Seasonal Adjustments:

Weather and seasons influence dining choices. An establishment in a colder region might promote hearty soups in winter, while a location in a warmer climate might advertise refreshing salads or cold beverages through the winter months.

3. Optimize for Local Events:

Is there a local festival, sports event, or concert happening in one of the locations in which you operate? Adjust your ads to cater to these events. Offer specials or discounts to attract the crowd. 

4. Leverage Local Landmarks:

If a location is near a popular landmark or tourist spot, use it in your ads. It can be a great way to attract tourists looking for a bite after sightseeing.

A location near the Statue of Liberty might run ads like "Dine with a view of Lady Liberty! Enjoy 10% off with your ferry ticket."

5. Regional Preferences:

Different locations might have varying preferences. For instance, a seafood special might be a hit near the coast but less popular inland. Use the demographic and interest data from Google Ads to tailor your content based on regional tastes.

In Conclusion

For restaurant chains, the key to capitalizing on earnings through Google My Business and Google Ads lies in understanding the unique dynamics of each location. 

By tailoring strategies to local preferences, events, and competition, chains can ensure they're not just reaching a wider audience but also converting them into paying customers.

Pairing a great presence on Google with the right POS platform enables you to advertise and run your restaurant enterprise in a way that will attract and delight your customers.