Tools for discovering new places for people on the go have become a must have. Mobile devices and their accessibility to geo-locational applications now allow searchers to free themselves from their own towns and discover new places.

Whether those discoveries be landmark attractions or venues to quench those hunger pangs, no longer is the paying public tied to a particular area just because they know what establishments exist.

Location based services give the user the advantage of not having to enter their location. Google will make the assumption based on a mobile devices GPS. Where a search term, such as ‘restaurant’ is used, Google infers local content is what is required, and provides results accordingly.

Google Maps and Google+ help the user to locate venues in a particular area, yes, but it can offer so much more.

People are generally familiar with Google Maps but perhaps aren’t aware of Google+ as their social network.

Let’s have a quick look at how your potential customers are going to locate your restaurant, along with some tips and points for consideration to assist in the decision to make use of Google to further your restaurant’s visibility.

Why Are Restaurants Using This?

As a potential marketing partner, consider how Google itself is rated in the hearts and minds of the general public as a whole.

As a search engine Google is a household word and with added services like Maps and Google+ the business world can now be a part of those value-add services.

To be a part of a business service you can be proud of definitely helps with gaining a confidence in marketing your restaurant. When you’re happy to shout out loud that you are a part of a very profitable company who are known to be a preferred employer, you become an advocate for them, and in turn, they for you.

Recommend Me

Through regular patronage, your restaurant can be a venue recommended by both one-off visitors and die-hard foodies in your area.

If your customers love your food but find the service lacking Google + local lets them share their experiences. Comments and reviews are scored on a simple 5 star scale. This kind of system gives the end user considering your restaurant a concise, quick reference point and perhaps can offer an instant ‘feel’ for the place.

Users can recommend and review venues by sharing their thoughts online. Other users and interested parties then read the comments and gauge your restaurant’s suitability for themselves.

Precise ratings are viewable for the end user enabling decisions to be made quickly and efficiently. For the user, if you can imagine it is like having thousands of friends giving the thumbs up on a particular establishment.

It’s hard to resist.

Tools of Trade

Reviews are great because they assist with identification of areas in your business that may need a little more attention. Issues with service may identify that your staff need more training or assistance with workload.

Reviews that are food based may be trying to tell you that the menu needs revamping or possibly updated to reflect current food trends.

Remember, not only can people comment verbally on your restaurant and your food, but they can share photos too.

This really is a tool that allow further examination of what you are dishing up (excuse the pun) to the buying public.

Whether we like it or not they kinds of interactive site and services are here to stay. It’s best to acknowledge that, and harness the power they have, from a business perspective.

Mind Your Own Business

Becoming involved with a site that can have your become a prominent restaurant in your searched area comes with responsibilities. Don’t take your listing for granted.

Ensure your venue’s information, including opening hours, are current. Your location naturally won’t change but if a new building is now opposite you, you may want to reference it, especially if it is a landmark or well-known retail store. ‘We’re right next door to the new Nike factory outlet’, as an example.

Make sure you claim your business on Google+ and maintain the record. Amend any information that is no longer current and certainly bring any questionable amendments, or anomalies to the attention of the site’s administrator.

No one likes to think that things will go wrong, but sometimes they do.

This is your livelihood after all. Take care of your information just as you would with any other sites that matter, including your own.

Honesty and Best Practice

Far be it for me to turn everyone’s smiles into frowns, but I must address a point of the unscrupulous kind; a cautionary tale, if you wish.

There have been cases of restaurant owners deciding that they will pay for positive reviews. This misguided attempt to gain favour with patrons new and existing can come at a high price.

This kind of activity could depict you and your business as deceitful and untrustworthy, with the result that suppliers could refuse to deal with you.

In the spirit of having a level playing field, it is best not to go down this path. Misleading your patrons with such acts can seriously hurt your profitability as a restaurant and your reputation as a business person.

On the opposite end of the scale, build in some best practises and offer coupons and incentives for people you find are regulars, or that mention they found you on Google Maps. This will generate a fondness for your establishment.

Trust me, word gets around fast.

By being a bit savvy, you actually can compete with the larger restaurant chains without stopping to such fraud as to pay for reviews.

Where To From Here?

So you’ve made the decision to affiliate your restaurant with Google Maps and Google +, so what’s next?

Google will ask you to verify your business’ details so simply follow their instructions on how to do that. Guidelines will need to be understood and met, so ensure you have a look at those too.

Whether users are planners or have more of a spontaneous nature essentials such as Google Maps and Google+ can be the perfect companion when looking for a place to dine out.

Ensure you’re easily located and you might just see a growth in patronage. Research and use these services offered to your advantage.

I won’t ramble on about how these kinds of services can assist your restaurant and its online presence, because whether you decide this is right for you is a business decision like any other. Geographical locational sites and their services can ultimately enhance your marketing and social networking plans.

Now is the time to take ownership of your listing and make a real connection with your customers.

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