Running a restaurant in New York City is tough. Talk about competition, eh? How do you stand out from the crowd? Well, there are a few simple things you can do that could prove to have a big ROI on your food & drink business. These Google My Business strategies are designed to increase foot traffic to your restaurant.
You don’t have to invest $$$’s every month to ensure your digital marketing is up to scratch. Give these simple yet effective strategies a go and start differentiating yourself from your competitors.
List your restaurant on Google My Business
I’m assuming the majority of you already have, but if you haven’t, then this is an absolute must! Google offers all businesses a FREE listing on their GLOBAL directory. IT’S FREE! DO IT NOW! Visit Google My Business and get yourself some free exposure.
This is where most business owners stop. However, this is just the beginning my friends. We’ve planted the seed. Let’s sprinkle some water on it.
The Goal: Top Spot on Google Restaurant Search
After signing up to Google My Business, restaurants should aim to leverage this tool to increase foot traffic to their restaurant. As you can see in the screenshot below, when searching “restaurant union square nyc” a handful of restaurants are displayed on the map. On the left hand side, you’ll also see restaurants are displayed in a list. This article will explore ways to get your business listed on the top of google maps.
When customers search for places to eat nearby, they will see something similar to the above screenshot. The three restaurants listed at the top “Tsurutontan Udon Noodle Brasserie”, “Booce USQ” and “Union Square Cafe” instantly benefit from mass exposure to all who are searching for places to eat. If you look at the view below, we’ve zoomed in to show how many restaurants are hidden behind the top 10-20 results on Google Maps. As you can see, there are at least 10 eateries which are not visible on the first search a user is likely to do. Note to self – you do not want to be in that category.
So what can you do to give yourself the best possible chance of increasing foot traffic to your restaurant?
1) Positive Reviews Helps the Decision Process
There are two things to note here:
- Make sure you are asking ALL of your customers to review your business. Google ranks your business based on credibility. The more reviews you have, the more credible your business looks. Reviews also contribute to listing your business in appropriate categories. For example, if your customer is looking for a romantic restaurant and many of your reviews have mentioned “romantic” in their reviews, it is likely your business will appear at the top of the list. See image below. As you can see, Google has a matching algorithm to ensure you’re the highest match for your target customers. The volume of reviews will support your case.
- It is also important to promote positive reviews. From the image above you will see the bulk of restaurants on the top (especially in NYC) are 4*’s and higher. Yes, we know you can’t please every single customer, however, there are a few strategies to promote only positive reviews to public platforms such as Google Reviews. One simple strategy is to be honest with your customer, ask them for their feedback and for the positive ones, let them know you’re hoping to establish your business online and kindly ask them to review your restaurant online. There is a more complex strategy for sifting out only the positive reviews online. We will explain this in a separate post in the near future.
2) Create Posts to Entice Potential Customers
Similar to Instagram, Google my Business allows you to post updates/photos on your page which are visible to the public. Consistent high quality updates/photos will:
- Entice potential customers to choose your restaurant
- Increase your page authority, leading to your restaurant being higher up the list of options
3) Create Coupons to Increase Foot Traffic on Quiet Days
Google offers businesses the option to promote their coupons for free, this is a great opportunity for you to enhance your profile and fill up your restaurant on days which are quiet. Examples of coupons to consider offering include Lunch Specials, Happy Hour, 2 for 1 offers, % discounts during certain times.
You can also submit your coupons to Eat With Coupons and we’ll send them out to our mailing list on a daily basis, giving you maximum exposure of your brand.
4) Please, Please, Please Add a Link to your Menu & Reservation Platforms on Google My Business
The amount of times we’ve seen business pages with no links to a menu, is quite frankly frustrating. It takes less than a minute to add, but it could make all the difference. It has the potential to drive large numbers of customers to your restaurant. When a customer is searching for restaurants through Google, often they will look for a menu to see the dishes on offer. At times customers may have a preference for particular dishes, or they may have specific dietary requirements. Customers will make such decisions in split seconds and often restaurants are overlooked simply because they have no menu listed.
In addition, it’s also helpful to leverage reservation platforms out there, such as Yelp or Open Table. These tools will also enhance your profile, but also help you manage your flow of customers. In a future post we will talk more about the different reservation platforms you could consider.
5) List your Restaurant on High Quality Directories
Our final suggestion is to list your restaurant on a number of high quality directories e.g. Yelp. This strategy has been proven to give food & drink businesses an insane amount of brand awareness. The combination of all of the above and this will really will help get you to the top the list. You can search for relevant directories through Google or alternatively (recommended) pay a reliable seller on Fiverr (or similar) to post on as many relevant directories as possible. Here’s an example of directory listing services.
And there you have it. The ultimate to do list for any restaurant owner. Implement these strategies now and thank us later.