Google My Business For Restaurants 101 – A Complete Guide
Most restaurant owners around the world are good at knowing how to provide the best customer service possible to their customers. What they are not always good at is attracting new clientele. While word of mouth marketing is important in the restaurant industry, there is a thirst and need for growth.
The problem is that oftentimes restaurants do not have large marketing budgets to have ongoing SEO services to (hopefully) increase their search engine ranking in the local market.
What most agencies don’t tell you is that there is one simple way to ensure you are showing up in the ranking of restaurants in your local area, enhance your SEO, and is completely free to set up yourself with no ongoing costs – It’s Google My Business!
Why is Google My Business Important For My Restaurant?
Beyond the perks mentioned above, Google My Business is becoming important industry wide and helps locals discover businesses that are in their local area. It also helps customers make decisions with the ability to read reviews of past guests.
While Google has their own review system, in the past several months we have seen them begin integrating reviews from other review platforms like TripAdvisor. This has quickly made them the “one stop shop” for customers in the decision making phase of the purchase journey.
There are a few other reasons why a GMB listing is important…
- Local Discovery – Visitors don’t have to visit your website to find out information like directions, phone number, hours of operation, etc. Being able to interact and learn about your business within the Google platform helps build trust in a matter of minutes.
- Heads Up Over Your Competition – Believe it or not there are TONS of restaurants who have still not claimed their Google My Business listing. While this is shocking, use it as an opportunity to capitalize on it and have everything within the account as filled out as possible.
- Book A Table In Seconds – Google has established partnerships with third-party booking platforms to allow searchers to book a table online easily without having to go the the platform’s website or the restaurant’s website. You can take a look at a list of established Google Booking Partners here.
- Review Hidden Customer Analytics – Google My Business gives its users the ability to quickly review analytics not public on other platforms like Google Analytics. A few of these are phone calls, got directions, and visited website. We will get into these analytics a bit more later.
- Build and Manage Customer Service – As we said above, users can leave reviews within the Google My Business platform. You can also respond to these reviews and you should. This shows potential new customers that you are active and attentive to customer’s input.
How Do I Check If My Restaurant Has A GMB Account?
There are two ways you can check. The first is by attempting to log into the Google My Business Platform here.
If there are no listings or you are not sure if it could be a different account do a simple Google Search for your restaurant. If there doesn’t appear to be a listing like the image below you most likely do not have an account for your restaurant.
How To Setup a Google My Business Account
- Go to the Google My Business website and sign in at the top-right corner (you may need to create one)
- Enter in your business’ address
- Choose if you would like your business to show up on Maps
- Search and select a business category
- Enter your website URL and phone number and select finish
You will then be prompted to verify your business. You may choose to skip this for now but it is essential that you complete it.
Verifying Your Google My Business Account
To verify your listing, you will see “Mail” at the top left corner of your page over where your business is pinned on the map. Enter your name or whomever will be receiving the postcard and select “Send Postcard”
If you skipped this step earlier, when logging into GMB you will see a large red banner asking you to verify your property. Select this and go through the same steps as above.
It may take a few days up to a few weeks to receive a verification postcard from Google. After you do receive it, you will notice there is a numeric code. Follow the steps on the postcard and enter the code when prompted to. After completion, your business should be fully verified with Google.
How To Edit a Google My Business Listing
To edit your listing, log into Google My Business and select your restaurant property. On the left hand side select “Info” and than click “Edit” next to each section. Note, these changes won’t occur if you have not yet verified your GMB account.
Adding In Your Restaurant Details, Hours, and Contact Information
After verifying your restaurant’s GMB listing, it only takes a few seconds to update anything on your listing.
Log into Google My Business and select “Info” on the left-hand side. Within this page, select the pencil near any section of your listing. This includes address, hours, special holiday hours, Accessibility, phone number, short name, and more.
Tip: You can also add “additional categories” to your business listing. While you may be a restaurant, you may also have a private dining space or ballroom which could help individuals searching for those keywords find your property.
Add Photos of Your Restaurant and Food
This is quick and easy. Log into Google My Business and select Photos from the left-side menu. Choose which type of media you would like to upload (image or video) you would like to add.
There are three types of photos you can upload:
- Logo – Your Brands logo
- Cover Photo – Picture of your restaurant, main course, or bar is recommended
- Additional Photos – Anything that supports your property. Food, bar, drinks, customers, etc.
It is important to note that customers can also upload photos of your property and even attach reviews to them.
There are certain requirements for Photos and Videos you upload:
- Photos –
- Need to be less than 5MB
- PNG or JPEG format
- The minimum size of 720×720
- Video –
- Need to be less than 100MB
- Up to 30 seconds long
- 720p resolution or higher
Add A Menu To Your Google My Business Listing
Menus can now be viewed right from Google search results! This is still a new feature that many restaurants are not taking advantage of.
There are some software services available online that can help you manually manage your GMB menu listing, if you have a rather simple menu or have a DIY attitude, here is a quick guide:
- Visit the “Info” tab on the left side of Google My Business
- Scroll down to the Menu section and select “Add or Edit items”
- Click “Add Menu”
This will bring you to a new section of Google My Business where you can add different menus for your restaurant. You can create multiple menus for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Private Dining, and more!
Post Like Facebook On Google My Business
Google+ may be gone, but the idea is still alive with Google My Business Posts. Restaurants now have the unique ability to post like on Facebook right on their Google My Business page. This will show up in search results as well.
Here is how you do it:
- Click “Posts” on the left-side menu
- Select which type of content you’d like to post from the options given
- Note content requirements:
- Minimum: 400×300 Pixels (10kb Size Limit)
- Maximum: 10000×10000 Pixels (25MB Site Limit)
- When you are happy with your post you can choose to publish the post or save it as a draft until you are happy with the post
When users search your restaurant, as many as eight of your most recent posts will show up on that search. They are sorted from newest to oldest. All posts may not show up every time a user searches, due to Google’s Algorithm.
Here are a few best practices when creating posts on Google My Business:
- Content – Stay on topic within your industry but don’t be afraid to test something new. Make sure that your posts are compliant with Google.
- Do NOT use content that references calls to purchase or specific prices, unless it is an event.
- Character Limit Recommendation – While GMB has a character limit, staying consistent with other social platforms, keeping it short with a clear call to action has proven to be the most effective. Try not to exceed two short sentences.
- Visual Media – While you can just post just text, analytics show that using images, videos, and GIFs has proven to increase engagement. You may add up to 10 pieces of content per single post so use it!
- Video – You may use a YouTube public or unlisted video as a post on your Google My Business page. Each video displays as a thumbnail and plays natively once clicked
- GIF – GIFs autoplay on search.
*Note about Posts: Google My Business Posts only last 7 days by default. This means you should be posting at least once a week on your listing. You can extend a post up to 14 days by changing its schedule.
Review Google My Business Insights & Analytics
Possibly one of the most valuable and underrated sources of restaurant data available to you absolutely free. To see your insights log into Google My Business and select “Insights on the left-hand side”
Below we will break down every section of Google My Business’ Analytics…
How Customers Search For Your Business:
This section quickly shows how many total searchers there were that viewed your restaurant. The further break down these searchers into three major categories:
- Direct – Users who found your GMB listing by searching for your name or address
- Discover – Users who found your GMB listing by searching by category (in this case “restaurant”)
- Branded – Users who found your GMB listing by searching for a brand similar to your restaurant
Where Customers View Your Business on Google:
Since Google My Business connects Google Search and Google Maps, this is a quick view on where you are getting the most visibility between the two. Most times you will search Search higher than Maps.
This is one of the most valuable pieces of analytics a restaurant can have. They again break down this section into three types of users who’ve completed an action on GMB:
- Visited Your Website
- Requested Directions
- Called You
While visiting your website couldn’t be easily noted as a conversion, getting directions to your restaurant most often times they are coming to eat. You could say the same about calling your restaurant, that most likely they were calling to reserve a table. While it isn’t a perfect system, this can be a high level indicator on gauging local interest in your restaurant.
This breaks down the information further from above detailing the number of searchers who clicked to ask for directions and which zip code they were in when asking for directions.
Tip: Using this information can be useful when doing future advertisements online on platforms like Facebook and Google.
Another break down from above, you can easily see the number of phone calls your property receives through Google My Business by day of the week or hour of the day.
You as well as guests can upload photos of your property. While in the customer research phase, individuals may skim through your photos to see the experience nad the food your restaurant provides. This shows you how many views your photos received compared the businesses like yours in the area.
Review SEO Keywords on Google My Business
Within the “Insights” page there is also a section called “Queries Used To Find Your Business”. This works great as a high-level SEO resource for your restaurant. Being able to see what users are searching for can help dictate how your content can and should shift in the future to be discovered even more.
Manage Your Listing On The Go
While most of us do work from our Desktop, you may find many opportunities to upload a photo, respond to a review, or post a new update from your phone like Facebook.
The Google My Business App (For iPhone and Android) allow you to do all these things from your mobile device.
Keep Keeping An Eye
While most of these items or “set it and forget it” it is important that you evaluate all the information on your Google My Business at least once a quarter. It should only take you 5 minutes to update all the information.
A friendly reminder, as reviews start coming in and photos are being uploaded, make sure you take the time and respond to all negative feedback and at least 20% of positive feedback. This shows that you aren’t just responding when you need to but you are actively listening to everyone.