3 Reasons Restaurants Should Use Google Search Ads

Have you ever turned to Google to search for restaurant dining options? Most likely, yes. In fact, restaurants are the #1 searched industry online according to a study by market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey. Google receives hundreds of thousands of daily searches for people seeking out places to eat. Savvy restaurant marketers can leverage these searches to help drive a steady stream of new and repeat customers into their dining establishments. 

Below we will detail precisely what Google Search Ads are, along with listing our top three reasons why restaurants should be using them.

What are Google Search Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is Google’s advertising system in which advertisers bid on specific keywords for their clickable ads to appear at the top of Google’s search results. For a restaurant, example keywords could be “restaurants nearby,” “best Italian restaurants,” or “top restaurants in New York City.”

Below is an example of a recent Google search engine results page (SERP) when someone located in Atlanta, GA, searched “Thai restaurants nearby” from a desktop computer.


Notice the advertisement at the top of the search results from restaurant Nan Thai Fine Dining, denoted with a green “Ad” label. Google makes money when someone clicks on the advertisement. This leads to our first reason why restaurants should be using Google search ads: Pay Per Click. Not Impressions.

Reason 1: Only Pay for Clicks, Not Impressions

Google Search Ads are pay per click (PPC), which means you only pay for clicks to your website or calls to your business. We are big fans of PPC advertising because you only get charged when the ad produces results, and not for the impressions. Even if your restaurant’s ad shows up thousands of times, you will not be charged any money until someone clicks on the ad.

Pro tip: 

A great feature of Google’s paid search is the ability to ‘day-part’ ads. This means setting the ads up to automatically run only during certain hours of the day (i.e., when you are open for business) or only on certain days of the week, like on your slowest days, when you need business the most.

Example of Ad Scheduling inside of Google Ads Dashboard
Example of Ad Scheduling inside of Google Ads Dashboard

Reason 2: The Ability to Reach Diners the Exact Moment They Are Actively Searching for a Place to Eat.

Restaurants that use Google’s paid search advertising allows them to jump to the top of the search results when prospective diners in the area are searching to decide at that exact time (usually from their mobile phone).

According to the latest study from SinglePlatform, 81% of consumers owning a smartphone have searched for a restaurant on a mobile device, while 75% of them said they often choose a restaurant based on these searches. Restaurants not taking advantage of search ads are potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table.

Pro tip: 

To make sure you are reaching the proper audience, you can, and you should carefully geo-target your Google search ad campaigns. Also, keep in mind, there is a limited distance a potential customer would be willing to travel to get to your restaurant and a limited area that you can successfully serve with delivery.

Target people within a certain radius of your restaurant
Target people within a certain radius of your restaurant

Reason 3: Google Ads Enables Measured Results

A common struggle with restaurant marketers is measuring marketing efforts and advertising campaign results. With Google search ads, restaurants offering online reservations, or online food ordering can track their ads’ conversions.

Google Ads enables users to customize and view their campaign metrics on a dashboard. Available metrics include return on investment (ROI), website traffic, sales, and conversions, which keywords are performing the best, which headlines get the best click-through rate, and the time of day ads perform the best. Leveraging these metrics allows you to pinpoint your customer acquisition cost.

Example metrics from Google Ads Dashboard
Example metrics from Google Ads Dashboard


Google Ads are a top player in reaching prospects, driving traffic, and increasing sales. Restaurants that have been ignoring the most popular (and effective) online advertising platform in the world should take a second look.

Starting a marketing and advertising strategy without an in-depth knowledge of trends and understanding of how to navigate tools can be daunting. For a free consultation with our team of Google certified digital marketers, click or tap the button below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *