Eighty-nine percent of people research restaurants online before visiting the establishment, booking a table, or placing an order. Establishing a solid presence online and utilizing every available feature possible to get leads from Google can make a significant difference in a restaurant’s bottom line.
Google has developed different tools and features that enable restaurant owners to provide all the necessary information about their menu offerings, atmosphere, and more via Google Business Profiles for each restaurant location. For local diners, this means they can check out menus, message the restaurant, place orders, search by restaurant-specific attributes and even book a table without leaving the Search interface.
This can save your customers a lot of time — and your brand a lot of resources. When diners can find everything they need on one platform, they have fewer reasons to speak to someone for reservations or to get basic details such as menu options. Consumers have what they need to decide and convert without having to call or visit the restaurant first.
In this blog, we dive deep to understand how Reserve with Google works — and how you can get the most out of it as a restaurant brand.
What is Reserve with Google?
Reserve with Google is a feature that enables customers to book appointments and make reservations online. Google offers ‘Reserve with Google’ and ‘Join the Waitlist’ to help your restaurant locations increase direct bookings and reduce the burden for your customer support team. Our world is fast-paced and technology-driven, and customers constantly search for the quickest and most convenient way to book their next meal. Simplifying the customer experience is a surefire way to drive more takeout, delivery, and dine-in customers.
In 2019, Google added the ‘Join the Waitlist’ option for customers to further improve the local diner’s experience. The feature allows customers to track wait times for the size of the dining party.
Customers can join the waitlist through Google Search and Google Maps. It makes the dining experience for customers in the listed restaurants feel efficient and elegant. They can access the menus, order their food online and get to know the specific attributes of the establishment while they wait.
How Reserve with Google benefits restaurant brands
Some of the benefits of having a solid listing on Reserve with Google for restaurant brands include:
Restaurants appear in Google search results
When people search for available dining options, a robust listing will help your restaurant brands stand out in Google search results. This helps increase your visibility and the potential for new customers.
Customers can easily make reservations through Google
Features, such as Reserve with Google, allow clients to make online reservations, making the process quick and convenient for both the customer and the restaurant.
It provides a centralized booking system
A complete listing allows restaurant brands to manage their reservations, table availability, and waitlist from a central booking system. The feature streamlines their operations and improves efficiency. It prevents confusion, and customers will not feel stranded when they visit a full restaurant.
It enables access to local search data and customer insights
With a robust listing, restaurant brands access data and insights on their customers. They can gather information on reservation patterns, dining habits, and more to help them plan better and prepare for most eventualities.
It allows for targeted promotions
Restaurants can connect with the customer through targeted promotions and messaging that Reserve with Google helps create. This can increase the customer’s engagement and loyalty, making them come more often and even recommending the restaurant to other people.
Recommended reading: How to Ace Your Restaurant’s Local Marketing Strategy
Other Google tools for enterprise restaurant brands
Improving your Google Business Profile (GBP) greatly enhances your online presence and improves your chances of getting discovered by hungry diners. Here are listing features you can use to improve your restaurant’s GBP:
- Online ordering
- GBP Food menus
Having complete and accurate information about your restaurant in GBP can make a huge difference in local search results. Attributes help you provide proactive, specific information that can help your listing appear in searches where customers are looking for things like a specific type of cuisine, payment options, or accessibility measures.
Learn more about mastering GBP attributes for your restaurants here.
By enabling Google Ordering on your GBP, you make it easier for customers to place orders and avoid long wait times. They can order while they are still conducting their search. It also helps a restaurant better engage customers while they are still interested.
Google food menus
Keeping your menu information up-to-date on your GBP is essential for customer engagement and search visibility. A client can access the information on all the food and drink options you have available through your profile. This allows them to choose and make an order easily. In turn, your restaurant can maximize your sale and profits.
Learn more about online ordering and menu syndication for enterprise brands here.
Getting started with Reserve with Google
Getting started with Reserve with Google is an easy process that you can achieve in one of two ways:
- Manage your bookings through Google Business Profiles.
- Access bookings through a supported scheduling partner.
Managing bookings directly
If you prefer to manage your bookings directly:
- To use Google Reserve, you’ll need to create or update a Google Business Profile account and claim ownership of each restaurant listing.
- Once you’ve set up the Google Business Profile, you can start using Reserve with Google to manage your bookings. Enable Google Reserve from your account’s “Bookings” section.
- Next, you’ll need to set your business’s availability for bookings. Specify days and times you’re open for business and how far in advance customers can book.
- Offer customers different booking options, such as online or in-person appointments, and set your prices and durations for each option.
- Google Reserve will show you a calendar view of all bookings, which you can use to manage existing bookings and make new ones.
- Confirm bookings with customers via email or text message, and send reminders before their seating.
- Finally, you can review the performance of your bookings and analyze customer behavior to make data-driven decisions about improving your business’s booking process.
Ensure you keep your brand’s listings up to date to avoid poor customer experiences.
Integrating through a scheduling partner
The integration process is straightforward if you access bookings through a supported scheduling partner. Generally, Reserve with Google through a scheduling partner involves the following steps:
- Choose a partner that best fits your needs and budget. Scheduling partners include Waitlist, Reservia, SimplySeated, and Zomato.
- Most scheduling partners offer a simple integration process that involves connecting your Google Business Profile accounts with your scheduling partner account. This allows your scheduling partner to access each restaurant location’s information and manage your bookings through Google Reserve.
- Once your scheduling partner is connected, you’ll need to set up your availability in the scheduling platform. Indicate when you’re open for business and available for bookings.
- You can offer customers different booking options, such as online or in-person appointments, and you can set different prices and durations for each option.
- Your scheduling partner will manage your bookings through Google Reserve, showing you a calendar view of all the bookings and allowing you to manage existing bookings and make new ones. You’ll also receive notifications when customers make or modify a reservation.
- The scheduling partner can confirm bookings with customers via email or text message and send reminders to customers before their appointments.
Your scheduling partner can provide valuable data and insights into your business’s booking process. It can include information on the number of bookings, the popularity of different booking options, and the performance of your scheduling partner’s platform.
Here is an example of the integration process for adding ‘Join the Waitlist’ through a scheduling partner.
Building restaurant business in every market you serve
A solid local listing is crucial in capturing motivated consumers in their decision-making moments. By using features like Reserve with Google and Join the Waitlist restaurant brands and franchise locations can stand out in competitive local search results and convert more customers to in-store diners and online orders.
Rio SEO’s restaurant local marketing solutions help keep your listings and menus fresh so they stand out in the market. Take advantage of a free local presence audit today for a custom analysis of your local search presence and specific recommendations about areas for improvement.
More helpful resources: