Throughout the country, there are more than a million restaurants for people to choose from. So, how exactly does your restaurant stand out in a crowd that size? One winning solution for many restaurant owners is to focus on their local search market.

The food, service, and atmosphere of your restaurant set it apart, but your advertising and web presence allow your establishment to be found.

Below, we explore the effectiveness of local restaurant marketing using Google Maps to produce the best results.

How to Focus Local Marketing Efforts On Google Maps

If you’re new to marketing and want to know where to start, start local and start with Google Maps optimization.

Among U.S. smartphone users, Google Maps has more than 154 million monthly active users, making it the most popular mapping app by far. Local hungry customers can find your restaurant, menu, ratings, and location, whenever their stomach rumbles, by searching Google Maps.

When you create a Google Maps listing and properly optimize it, you provide potential customers everything they need to know to make an informed decision about whether to place an order at your eatery.

The advantages of optimizing your Google Maps listing include:

  • Improving your company’s website visibility.
  • Increasing visibility within search results for more keyword variations.
  • Facilitating the discovery of nearby restaurants and takeaway services.
  • Customer reviews that provide a new avenue for interaction with your business.
  • Better positioning in Google’s local top three results for geo-specific queries like, Italian food near me.

How to Get Listed on Google Maps

It’s crucial to understand the relationship between Google Maps and Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) when you’re setting up your Google Maps account. Google Maps and the Knowledge Panel (the column to the right of search results on Google) display information you complete within your GBP account.

Start by conducting a Google Maps search for your company name. Google encourages local users, called “Local Guides,” to add companies in their region to keep the app up to date. This means that your company may already be listed even if you didn’t add it yourself!

If you already have a listing, claim your company in order to gain control of it and guarantee that customers get the most up-to-date information.

How to Add Your Company to Google Maps

You can quickly add your company to Google Maps if it isn’t already there: Select “Add a missing place” from the menu options.

After you add your company, a request to enter the Business Name, Category, and Location appears. When choosing the “Food and Drink” category, be very specific, because there are several available choices, ranging from “Italian Restaurant” to “Sushi Restaurant.” The more specific you are, the more likely your business shows up for related searches.

It takes Google a few days to verify a location once you add it, but once the location is verified, you will receive a notification email with a link to claim your company.




Over 50% of your new patrons are searching for restaurants in Google


7 Ways to Optimize Your Google Maps for Better Results

Now that you have your Google Maps listing created and can edit your information via your Business Profile account, here’s how to get the most from the service.

1. Add Lots of Photos

Your GBP account photographs are a fantastic way to showcase the dishes and menu items your restaurant cooks up. When people in your neighborhood search for the kinds of foods your restaurant prepares, these images appear in the Google search results page.

PRO TIP: Many restaurants are unaware that Google often favors accounts with recently posted photographs and lots of them. So, regularly take and share new photos and encourage customers to post their own!

2. Add Your Menu Items

Google Maps recently introduced a new tool that uses machine learning to provide recommendations on the most popular meals at a restaurant.

The machine learning capabilities of the feature are enabled by an algorithm that matches dish titles with appropriate photographs and ratings.

The overview page of restaurant listings includes a section that highlights notable menu items. To learn about the best dishes that a restaurant has to offer, all your customer has to do is search for it on Google Maps.

3. Grow Your Google Review Count

When you have more reviews on Google than your competition, usually your position in the search results improves. Your business’s local search results also improve when you grow your review count and actively engage with customers by responding to those reviews.

Google is known to reward restaurants with a lot of recent reviews, especially those with positive ratings.

Reviews are a valuable resource to improve your establishment’s relationship with customers, too. So feel free to ask for reviews in email communications, on customer’s receipts, and in messages with delivery orders.

4. Add Keywords

Similarly to how you may optimize a website page or a social media profile to target certain keywords, you can do the same with your Business Profile

You may have observed that “mentions” statements, like customer quotes, are often emphasized under a result during local searches. These “mentions” seem to justify Google’s choice to provide a certain profile as a worthwhile response to your inquiry.

Additionally, searches may see “justifications,” such as menu highlights, post justifications, and review justifications. By including target keywords in the right contexts (without overdoing it), your GBP can be optimized for these various search features.

5. Regularly Update Customers via GBP Posts

GBP postings are an excellent medium for distributing information about your establishment, like upcoming events and promotional deals. It’s important to remember to include appealing photographs and calls to action in all of your posts.

Regularly share your popular dishes, alert customers of upcoming events, and post special offers or menu items. Make sure all information is correct, as posts can boost your restaurant’s listing in Search and Maps results.

6. Embed Your Map On Your Website

Adding an embedded map of your company’s Maps listing sends local search signals to Google, which can improve visibility.

On your website, an embedded map displays the location of your company, address, ratings, review stars, and directions.

This makes it easier for potential customers to navigate to your establishment without opening a new browser window and leaving your website to search for directions.

7. Link to Your Online Ordering System

In your GBP, you have options to select links that say “Order Online,” “Order for Pickup,” or “Reserve a Table”. You can also link directly to your online ordering system through your website or a third-party vendor.


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Local Marketing for Restaurants FAQs

Have questions about how to rank higher in the local search results when people Google your restaurant’s food? If so, see if your answers are provided below. If not, feel free to reach out to our team directly!

<b>Why is Local Marketing Important for the Restaurant Industry?</b>

Marketing your restaurant is the secret ingredient to your business’s continued success. The process of producing sales, recruiting new customers, and improving your company’s presence in the market, is known as customer acquisition.

It refers to the strategy that underpins how you interact with your clientele through a variety of media in order to reach your audience.

<b>Do Restaurants Actually Need to Market Themselves?</b>

Marketing your restaurant is essential. Marketing helps you locate new customers, grow your customer base, and convert drop-in patrons into regulars. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight the significance of this matter.

Guests now have different expectations, making it harder to compete with restaurants who have effectively reinvented themselves. Some updated business practices include improvements to customer safety, contactless experiences, and digital ordering.

<b>What's the Average Restaurant Spend on Local Marketing?</b>

There is no magic number that can be applied to every restaurateur. However, ensuring that the marketing budget aligns with the business’s objectives, and continuing to monitor results, is crucial to a successful campaign.

A general rule of thumb is that the budget for marketing a restaurant should be between 3 and 6% of its total sales. The vast majority of restaurants allocate between 3 and 10% of their revenue toward marketing.

According to FSR, there is a direct correlation between marketing spend and overall growth:

  • Businesses that increased their income by 1 to 15% from the previous year spent, on average, 16.5% of their total revenue on marketing.
  • Companies that had annual growth of between 6 and 30% spent an average of 22% of their sales on marketing during that time period.
  • Businesses who increased their income by 31 to 100% or more year-over-year devoted an average of 50.2% of their total sales to marketing.

<b>Why is Digital Marketing So Important for Restaurants?</b>

  1. Having a brand for your restaurant is important for two reasons: Firstly, it helps guests remember who you are. Secondly, it tells them what to expect from the cuisine you offer. To maintain your brand’s integrity and trust (and attract more customers), you should use digital marketing.
  2. When comparing traditional to modern, digital marketing tactics, you’ll find the latter is where you’ll want to invest your money.
    • The ease with which digital marketing can be monitored, measured, and evaluated is the most significant distinction between the two.
    • Digital is far more cost-effective. Here’s a snapshot of the typical cost of several common offline and online promotional strategies:
      • Costs for billboards range from $1,500 to $14,000 (depending on location).
      • Advertising on a full page of a newspaper costs approximately $2,700 for a small-town paper and well over $150,000 in the Washington Post.
      • Ad production expenses for a 30-second radio spot range from $1,200 to $7,500.
      • Packages for digital marketing range from $3,500 per month to $10,000 per month and can be efficiently deployed across a number of channels, i.e., social media, search engines, paid advertising, etc.
  3. Digital marketing outperforms its analog counterpart through a wider reach. You can’t tell how many people your print or radio ads are truly reaching. But when you use digital marketing, you may choose a certain demographic and reach them directly.