PPC and Display

Search Marketing For The Restaurant Industry: Five Points To Consider

Everyone likes to eat. On the contrary, not everyone likes to cook, a fact that the restaurant industry has long understood.

The challenge of the modern restaurant owner lies in differentiating themselves from their competition, which can only be done through well-targeted marketing campaigns that will effectively increase their market share. In Quebec, other than taking a MAPAQ course, there are not many barriers to entry in the food market.

In other words, the competition is stiff and to succeed in this market, restaurateurs must be present for the entirety of the consumer purchase process. If you are not in the consumer’s thoughts at the very moment that they decide to satisfy their hunger, your competitor will probably be there, at your expense!

It’s at this final stage of the purchase process that paid search comes in. It would be a shame to invest thousands of dollars in traditional advertising, only to lose your momentum the moment that the consumer types the phrase “restaurant Montreal” into Google.
To ensure favourable results after launching your paid search strategy, here are 5 factors to consider:

1. Search Marketing Complements Display Advertising

 Your potential client is bombarded by a flurry of ads each day: television, radio, display, and print. In all these cases, the client is viewing the ads involuntarily! On the contrary, when your client types a query into a search engine, it’s because they already have a desire or need and are looking to satisfy it. This is the reason why the restaurant owner must be present right at the moment when the consumer is highly motivated - especially in the restaurant industry - where the time between internet search and purchase is particularly short. 

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2. Put Yourself in the Customer’s Shoes

My experience with several franchise owners has taught me that one common mistake is to focus on keywords describing the specific foods offered by the restaurant. Don’t waste time on this - a user who wants to eat eggs and bacon for breakfast will not search “restaurants serving eggs and bacon”. On the contrary, they will simply search for “breakfast restaurant”. They will use a broad term so they can consider all their options.

Along the same lines, the most frequently searched keywords revolve around restaurant menus, opening hours, specials, the style of restaurant (eg. Italian restaurant) or restaurant location. 

3. Optimize Your Return on Investment 

To improve your cost per conversion (CPA), one way of optimizing impression share is to focus on strategic timeslots. At first glance, you may think that the highest rate of search occurs between 12 and 1 PM, because this is when the majority of people take their lunch. On the contrary, by analyzing Google Analytics data, you will learn that people begin their search in the hour before lunchtime. The online “lunch rush” begins between 11 AM and 12 PM, and it is essential to ensure you are present by increasing your bid, so you can gain the maximum amount of conversions for your budget.

4. Target Mobile Users 

Do not forget to target mobile! Rates of mobile usage are higher than we think. According to a survey by CEFRIO, 52.3% of adults in Quebec owned a smartphone in 2014, a 7.9% increase over the previous year. With this knowledge, it would be absurd not to follow mobile optimization best practices. First of all, it is essential to have a mobile-friendly website. It is useless to direct traffic towards a website that is unusable on a mobile platform. If you do not want to invest to create a mobile version of your site, an adaptive website can also work quite well. 

Once you’ve created a mobile website, what is the best way to target it to your mobile users? You can adapt the content of your ads, considering that your user is “on-the-go” and looking for a restaurant close by. Creating ads tailored to the location of your restaurant will improve your results. To ensure that the user understands that they are close to your restaurant, you can link your AdWords account to your Google My Business account and add location extensions to your ads! 

5. Retarget Your Site Visitors

Now that everything is set up, why not turn your visitors into loyal customers by retargeting them? Remarketing is an effective way to gain a competitive advantage with consumers who have already demonstrated an interest in your brand. Give back to them with a tantalizing promotion, so that they will return and make another purchase.

On the search network, you can target people who have previously visited your website and don’t know exactly what they want to order when they start a new search. For example, a former visitor might search using the keywords “restaurant order online”. The chances that they will make a purchase are higher, given that they have already demonstrated an interest by visiting your website. Knowing the potential that this search has, you can make a higher-than-normal bid in order to position your ad in the top ranks. The consumer gets a relevant result for their search. They’re happy- and so are you!


By applying these five simple tips, you are already well on your way to seeing improved results and achieving your business objectives. You will find success by ensuring that your campaigns are well structured from the beginning, optimizing them regularly, and creating ads that will make you stand out from the competition.

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