- By Sonia Dhillon
In this feature, our listings expert (and avid brunch-going Millennial) Sonia Dhillon reveals how your restaurant can stand out online, when brunching fanatics are deciding where to enjoy a mimosa with their pals.
How many times has this this happened to you: it’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and your friends pop up on your phone saying, “Let’s do brunch!” In true millennial fashion, you oblige.
The next question that arises is what you, as a business owner, need to worry about: “Where should we go?” . With hundreds of restaurants around brunch-loving consumers, it’s important to be the stand out option when there are countless reviews and menus to choose from. Especially brunch; it’s not a meal, it’s an experience.
How do you compete with this fast growing trend that every breakfast or lunch joint is now catching on to? For starters, there’s Yelp: people love it and there is a serious culture growing around the service (they’ve even got a name for themselves: Yelpers).
For those who aren’t Yelping, you’ll likely find them on Google. A whopping 15 billion visit-related searches occur on Google every month. So, the real question is: how do we turn those searches into visits to your restaurant?
Step one: be on Google Maps and make sure your name, phone number, and hours of operation info are accurate and up-to-date.
It’s important to emphasize this since it’s often overlooked (even though it seems so obvious). With reviews, and those magical five stars on your page, it’s easy to forget to make sure you’ve updated your hours of operation after you decided to close early on Fridays. The last thing you want is a potential buyer coming to your place of business at 3:30pm and being met with a sign that reads “CLOSED” while staring at their phone and seeing the hours clearly say you should be open until 5:00pm. You’ve potentially just lost a long-term customer with a small oversight.
Ok, we’ve now established how important all those little administrative details are for your business. Back to our brunch-crazed millennials. It’s not a mystery we live in a culture of instant gratification. People want to know what they’re getting before they get it, and don’t necessarily want to put a lot of work in to finding it. Reviews are great for this, but there is a less exhausting and more objective way to showcase what your business has to offer: A way we can help our brunchers find the perfect spot to spend their Sunday afternoon.
Step two: beef up those listings with ALL of the information you can provide!
Attributes replaced descriptions in Google Maps in 2016, and they are a crucial part of your local listings. Attributes tell consumers about the type of crowd, offerings, highlights, atmosphere, amenities, and payment methods. By doing so, they allow businesses to give consumers a better idea of their services through category specific details. For example, a business under the category “hotel” will have attributes with amenities such as “in-room safe” or “concierge”, and a shopping mall will have payment methods such as “cash only” or state if it’s “wheelchair accessible”, etc.
There is a laundry list of attribute options, depending on the type of business you have. If you’re a restaurant serving brunch, you most likely serve mimosas and eggs benedict. So, in the attribute section of Google maps, you would indicate that your restaurant serves “brunch and alcohol.” Take credit card? Fabulous — most Millennials don’t carry cash with them. In the moments consumers open up their mobile devices to search “brunch near me”, they will click on your business, then check out your attributes to see whether it is right for them (i.e. “Am I able to have a mimosa with my benedict?”) When you have this information ready and waiting for a searcher with a growling stomach, you’re one step closer to having them choose your restaurant over another.
Not convinced? Consider the stats: With 30% mobile searches being location based, 76% mobile searches leading to a store visit within a day, and 28% resulting in a purchase, beating your competitors to get that sale could be determined by someone knowing if your restaurant is family-friendly or not. With so much information at a consumer’s fingertips, they’re very picky about where they spend their money. When it comes to dining out, customers aren’t leaving their decisions to chance, and as a business, you shouldn’t either.
Step 3: Understand the Power of Yelp!
Customers are pickier than ever these days, and trying a new restaurant can be a gamble. Especially for the Millennial bruncher who is looking to impress their friends with a hidden gem that they can take credit for finding. How do they avoid a horrible experience, and ridicule from their peers? Reviews! Just not any reviews, but reviews on Yelp.
In a recent Nielsen study, there were some interesting findings that put the power of Yelp and reviews into perspective:
“92% of consumers who use consumer online review sites say they made a purchase after visiting Yelp at least sometimes, frequently, or almost always.” This number indicates how trusted, influential, and useful this site is for consumers, and shows that reviews are a huge indicator of how well your business will do. If the Millennial bruncher sees 20 reviews telling them that your restaurant has awesome food, great service, and a fun atmosphere, you’ve already made a sale before they’ve even walked through your doors.
“79% of Yelpers say they are looking for a business they can visit multiple times.” As a business owner, you know the importance of having regular customers, so this must be music to your ears. The brunch crew is looking for a cool new spot they can make their own, where they bring their friends, and come back on a regular basis.
85% of Yelp users share the business they find on Yelp with friends at least frequently or occasionally. Not only can you count on their continuous business, you can count on them spreading the word. This is a recipe for success.
Yelp is a powerful tool: the numbers don’t lie! As important as it is to be on Yelp, it’s important to have up-to-date and accurate information to ensure your customers know when you’re open and where you’re located!
Step 4: Welcome your brunchers with open arms!
So — you’ve adequately represented your business online. Good job! And, you’ve got a wealth of positive reviews from your happy Yelping brunchers to boot. What comes after is up to you, and it’s the other crucial half of the equation: give your customers a positive experience to talk about! If you can have your Millennials Instagramming, Snapping and Tweeting about their oh-so-delicious encounter, then you’re making the online-to-offline loop come full circle.
But none of that can happen if you don’t show up online when the idea arises for a classic brunch out with pals.
Find out how we can help you win Google (and customers attention!) by reading our E-Book.