How to use Google Ads for restaurants

Sam Sinha
Author Sam Sinha
Google Ads restaurant marketing

What is the significance of Google Ads for restaurants? Put simply, if you’re not using Google Ads to promote your restaurant, your competitors are likely taking business away from you.

Even if a customer searches specifically for your restaurant, they may find a competitor or be taken to a delivery aggregator rather than your website. And this could be happening multiple times a day without you knowing.

According to the latest WordStream by LOCALiQ data, restaurants and food service businesses have a low cost-per-click (CPC) at $1.84, a relatively high click-through rate (CTR) at 7.60% and a good conversion rate of 5.54%.

But with expert help, you can do much better. Our internal restaurant marketing team currently achieves a CPC of 36 cents and an average CTR of 12.7% across every restaurant the team runs ads for.

That means that for a relatively low ad spend per customer, you have a good chance of them clicking on your ad and making a purchase.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads, previously known as Google Adwords, is a search engine advertising service that places ads at the top of Google search results and across its Display Network of ads shown on partner websites.

Restaurants can create ads to target specific search terms, or keywords, in order to reach the right audience for their brand. Google Ads is a powerful addition to your restaurant marketing strategy and can support your other restaurant digital marketing efforts.

Check out our previous post for detail on how it works.

Paid versus organic search results

Before we get further into the benefits of Google Ads for restaurants, there are some important distinctions to make clear.

Here are some high-level definitions to get familiar with:

  • Keywords – a single word or a phrase typed into a search engine when someone is looking for results. In the example below, someone is searching for a specific Dublin Asian restaurant, Mao, with the keywords Mao Dublin.

Mao paid search
  • Paid search results – The ads are at the top of a page of search results with the word Ad next to the URL on the left. These spots are bid on by businesses using Google Ads. In the example above, Mao’s own ad, run by the Flipdish Managed Marketing team, appears at the top of the results.

  • Organic search results – Further down the page are the organic results. In this example, there’s a map showing locations. In the example below, with the keywords order online Mao Dublin, again Mao’s ad appears first, followed by organic results for Mao’s online ordering website and a delivery aggregator.

Mao organic search

The way to appear at the top of the organic results is to improve your SEO (search engine optimisation). You can improve your ranking by performing tasks like claiming your Google My Business profile, adding metadata to your website, and writing useful content for your target audience using relevant keywords.

All of this helps Google recognise your website as a relevant search result for your target keywords.

But you can get to the top of the results without months of SEO work by bidding on the keywords using Google Ads.

It’s so important because you could put months of effort into SEO, only for other restaurants or a delivery aggregator to bid on your keywords and appear at the top of the results.

The customer might never scroll down to your result because they just click on the ad and order through the aggregator – which means you pay a commission on the order and you don’t have a chance to capture the customer data for remarking and loyalty.

Or worse still, they click on the ad and then order with a competitor.

Examples of Google Ads for restaurants

Here are some examples of Google ads our team is currently running for craft butchers and premium ready-to-eat meal provider Dublin Meat Company.

Dublin meat company 2
Dublin meat company 3

The ads below feature offers for Base Wood Fired Pizza:

Base wood fired pizza 1
Base wood fired pizza 2

What are the benefits of Google Ads for restaurants?

Google Ads can be used in a number of different ways to promote your business. It’s important to use the service in the right way and know what you want from it. Otherwise, you’ll be spending money on ads that don’t achieve the desired results.

Here are some of the different approaches and associated benefits of using Google Ads to promote your restaurant.

Protect your brand

The first job if your restaurant is new to Google Ads is to make sure your brand is protected against the competition – and against delivery aggregators that may be bidding against you on the same keywords.

They may be taking orders away from your own ordering website. But even worse, if your store is closed, or for whatever reason the person searching for you can’t order, they’re likely to order from your competitors on the platform.

This means you are actually losing customers because the delivery aggregators have beaten you in the search results. That’s why it’s so important to compete and protect your brand by bidding for the basic keywords that customers are searching for.

Say you run a pizza place, Pizza Cafe in Peterborough. The first job is to bid on keywords like:

  • Pizza Cafe

  • Order Pizza Cafe online

  • Pizza Cafe order online

  • Pizza Cafe delivery

  • Pizza Cafe Peterborough

This will ensure you appear at the top of the search results for people looking for your restaurant specifically.

Go after new customers

With a slightly higher budget, you can take it a step further and start to attract new customers with broader search terms like best pizza in Peterborough or pizza delivery near me.

Appearing at the top of the results for these terms will give your brand visibility to a new swathe of searchers.

You can add deals to the ad copy to differentiate your restaurant’s ad from competing ads.

For example, If a potential customer sees…

Pizza Cafe | Order Online Now | 10% Off Your First Order

Pizza Cafe | 10% Less When You Order Direct

…they are more likely to click on your ad and order direct than from a competitor or an aggregator.

Understand your customers

The process of researching the right keywords and then monitoring your campaigns to see which ones are performing best gives you an incredible insight into your customers’ desires.

Google Ads customers

Once your campaigns are up and running, you can generate reports on the number of clicks, impressions and conversions so you know exactly how well your ads are performing and how to improve them.

The whole process of running a Google Ads campaign will help you understand your customers better and continually optimise your offering to serve them more effectively.

Deploy laser-targeting

Google Ads allows you to deploy a targeted approach. Using tools like geotargeting, which only shows ads to customers in a specific area, as well as targeting specific customer demographics and keywords gives you the best chance of success from the minimum spend.

When your targeting is spot-on, you can reach customers ready to make a purchase, boosting your conversion rate to ensure an excellent return on your ad spend.

Get results fast

If you’re wondering how to set up a Google Ads campaign, don’t worry, it’s easy to do so by simply signing up for a free account and adding a payment method.

Google Ads analytics

Then you’re ready to deploy a campaign and get measurable results immediately, meaning you can start to tweak your ads to make them even more effective. In contrast with organic SEO, which is a long-term strategy, Google Ads is speedy and results-driven.

Tight budget control

With Google Ads, you can set a budget for the day and let your campaign run, safe in the knowledge that you won’t spend more than your allocated budget.

You also have tight control over when and where the ads appear. So you can set them to only appear for people within your delivery area, or only when your restaurant is open, to ensure you spend your budget wisely.

Google Ads for restaurants FAQ

What are some types of Google ads for restaurants?

  • Responsive search ads

Responsive search ads are the new form of text ad, which replaced the former iteration, expanded text ads, in June 2022. Responsive ads automatically test different content to show the most relevant results to searchers.

You provide multiple options for headlines and descriptions and Google Ads tests them over time and populates your ads with the best performing combinations.

Dublin meat company 1
  • Dynamic search ads

Dynamic search ads are ideal for brands with well-maintained websites as they can automatically take content from your site and to target ads to keywords you might be missing.

You tell Google which pages on your site it can use and provide descriptions for the ads.

How expensive are Google ads for restaurants?

The amount you spend on Google Ads depends on the budget you set. If you want to be competitive for popular keywords, it will cost more and you’ll have to up your budget for your ads to appear.

If you were to enlist the help of Flipdish Managed Marketing, our google ads packages start at £200 or €200 per month. We guarantee that 65% of this budget is spent directly on ads.

Are Google ads for restaurants a good investment?

Research carried out by WordStream by LOCALiQ reveals that restaurants and food service businesses have a cost-per-click (CPC) of $1.84, a click-through rate (CTR) of 7.60% and a conversion rate of 5.54%.

These are good numbers suggesting that Google Ads are a good investment for restaurants, takeaways and other hospitality businesses.

With expert help, you can do even better. Our internal restaurant marketing team currently achieves a CPC of 36 cents and an average CTR of 12.7% across every restaurant the team runs ads for.

When you consider that a customer clicking through and ordering on your website could have a future value to you of hundreds, if not thousands, that translates to a very healthy ROI (return on investment) for your ad spend.

Do Google ads for restaurants work?

Deployed in a strategic way, Google ads have the potential to bring in a lot of new business. Every restaurant should be running Google Ads protecting their brand words as a minimum. Your competitors and the marketplaces in the area are running them, and if you don’t you are instantly at a disadvantage. The real question is: can you afford not to?

Protect your restaurant brand and grow online orders with Google Ads

Aside from the numerous benefits and excellent ROI that Google Ads offers restaurants, the fact is that if you’re not deploying it as a strategy, you can be sure your competitors are one step ahead – from the biggest restaurant chains to small independent restaurants and even the delivery aggregators that purport to be on your side.

That makes it a vital strategy to at least be protecting your brand with the most basic of Google Ads, but even better, to be going after new customers with an active campaign to grow your online orders and boost your brand awareness even further.

As with anything, the best and most cost-effective way to deploy Google Ads the right way, and to make sure they’re effective, is to call in the experts.

Flipdish Managed Marketing is our in-house digital marketing agency creating Google Ads for restaurants we work with around the globe. The team of marketing pros works with many hundreds of restaurants to figure out the best strategy and get them up and running with Google Ads, social media marketing and more.

Interested? Get in touch for a quote today

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