Google Ads for Restaurants | Low-Cost Tactics to Increase Sales in 2020

Google Ads for Restaurants | Low-Cost Tactics to Increase Sales in 2020

Google Ads for restaurants, if done right, can help you drive targeted users into the sales funnel. It is an effective way to showcase your restaurant in front of a lot of interested users who are constantly searching for dining options on their mobile devices. Most restaurant managers understand the value of Google ads, but don’t know how much to invest.

All of us can agree to one thing – running a restaurant is HARD WORK! And, with newer ways to market your food, it just keeps getting tougher. But, there’s a way to make sure that your restaurant generates leads even when you sleep.

In this article, we will be discussing about the various types of Google Ads for restaurants and how to allocate budget for each. If you’re new to this, we recommend that you read the previous articles to acquaint yourself with the subject. Here are some of our suggested reads –

Pay Per Click, Google Marketing, Google Ads for Restaurants

Google Ads for Restaurants | Getting Started

Before you start investing time and money on Google Ads for restaurants, it is important that you cover the basics. For starters, you should make sure to list your restaurant on Google Places. Next, you should optimize the website for better visibility. And, finally, you should check and amend your sales funnel for better results.

Here’s how your restaurant will show up on Google Maps once you claim the FREE Listing –

How do Google Ads for Restaurant Work?

Google Ads are Pay Per Click (PPC) which means you only pay for interaction like clicks to your website or calls to your company. This ad category has gained popularity on networks such as Google and Facebook / Instagram as advertisers are paid only when the ad produces results, not for impressions.

Although Google Ads for restaurants can drive stellar results, its cost has to be taken into consideration. Advertising on Google is cost-effective for many businesses because it allows you to select your budget and bids, as well as change them at any time. Listed below are some statistics that prove the cost-effectiveness of this platform –

  • Google delivers an investment return (ROI) of 8:1 — or $8 for every $1 spent (Source).
  • The average daily budget suggested for a Google Ads campaign is $10-$50 (Source).
  • The average CPC (cost-per-click) for Google Ads is $1-$2.
  • The average CPC for ads on Google Display Network is $1 or less.

Here’s a table by WebFx pointing out the average cost of Google Ads for different industries –

google ads for restaurants | average cost by industry
Google Ads – Average Cost by Industry

As mentioned, Google Ads has a good conversion rate. Here is a chart depicting the averages by industry –

Google Ads Conversion Rates by Industry

You can use either the Google Search Network or the Google Display Network, if you decide to launch an ad campaign on Google Ads. The Google Search Network is a popular choice because you can advertise in search results on Google, as well as in Google Maps, Google Images, Google Shopping, and more.

Today, reaching consumers and business buyers demands a multi-channel and multi-device approach, which is why mobile advertising is used by companies across industries. Through Google Ads, the business will use a full-fledged network to promote your products or services to mobile and smartphone users.

Now, that we have the basics cleared, let’s tell you about some tried-and-tested Google Ads for restaurants tactics to boost your restaurant sales.

Google Ads for Restaurants | Understanding the Buyer Journey

To set things clear, Google Ads isn’t a wizard that will hypnotize customers and force them to come and eat your place. That’s not how it works! It is not like customers see your ad, click on it…and BOOM…. they’re a customer!

Of course the above scenario does happen, but many consumers take a lot of actions over the course of hours or days. You may have piqued their curiosity, for example, but then they left to read your reviews, check out rivals, or maybe they temporarily stopped their search entirely.

Understandably, most people ignorant of how Google operates don’t know that the platform offers many resources at any point during the customer journey to help you target the perfect restaurant customer so you can be successful with even small budgets.

For instance, Google offers an objective program designed to maximize conversions however you have identified them–restaurant phone calls, shop visits or conversions through your restaurant app. The campaign optimizes that objective and reduces any ad spending that does not help to achieve that goal. Google will also stick to your cost per lead / cost per conversion cap, so you can make sure you keep to your ROI goals.

An easier way to understand this concept is through an example. Let’s say, your restaurant offers great options for lunch. So, what is stopping you to run targeted ads during the lunch hours (say 11 am – 2 pm). The target audience will mostly be searching the generic term ‘restaurant near me’. A quick search shows us the number of people actively searching (and, you don’t want to miss this huge chunk of readily available customers).

google ads for restaurants | keyword research overview
Keyword Research Overview

Choosing the Campaign Type

Google Ads for restaurants work in two standard ways –

  • Search Ads – these are text-based ads that show up in Google search results and/or partner networks.
Google Ads for Restaurants | Pizza
Search Ads on Google
  • Display Ads – comprises of images, videos, and text ads that are shown across the Google display network. These are also known as Google Remarketing ads.

Note that, search ads work good for short-term goals, and display ads are perfect for long-term. Here’s a visual explanation of the marketing funnel and Google ads for restaurants campaign types.

Google Ads for Restaurants | The Marketing Funnel
The Marketing Funnel and Google Ad Campaign Types

Creating the Ad Copy

Until now, you have –

  1. Decided on the target audience
  2. Researched on the keywords
  3. Defined your bid
  4. Structured the ad type

So, what’s left?

Writing the ad copy! This has to be perfect so you get the most return on investment.

And, how do you write a perfect ad copy?

Google Ads for Restaurants | Ad Copy Guidelines
Anatomy of a Perfect Google Ad copy

Simple, follow our tips to nail your ad –

  • Underline your restaurant’s unique selling proposition (what makes your food special?)
  • Point out the benefits (showcase health benefits, cost savings, etc.)
  • Add clear Call-to-Action (CTA)
  • Showcase additional features, if any.

Additional Tips

Google provides multiple ad extensions that you should selectively use to increase the size and visibility of your ad, thus achieving a higher click-through rate (CTR), In addition, Google notes that many advertisers see a 10-15 percent rise in CTR with ad extensions included. Through adding extensions selectively, you will create a richer, more impactful search experience for your future clients.

Here are some recommended extensions that you should try –

  • Callout Extensions – Callout extensions give you extra space to highlight exclusive restaurant offerings. Use this to differentiate yourself from your local competition. Think of what makes you different, such as “family owned”, “keto diet”, etc.
  • App Extensions – If your restaurant has a mobile app, you can add an extension for that as well. This is also a fantastic opportunity to create a mobile traffic re-targeting list for your website which can be used to retarget your app. (We will talk about retargeting in another dedicated article).
  • Location Extension – Location extensions include the address and business hours within the search ad for your restaurant. This is also a significant addition for restaurants, which includes a “Google My Company” account, something all local businesses should still have. If your company and location have been claimed on Google, you will be shown in more locations, such as the organic search results and within Google Maps.
  • Sitelinks – Extensions to the Sitelink allow additional links inside your search ads. This is particularly important for restaurants as you can display numerous pages, such as new menu items, events or guest reviews.
  • Message Extension – Message extensions activate a button on mobile devices that allow potential customers to communicate with you via text messaging.
  • Call Extensions – Call extensions include the telephone number for your restaurant in the ad. This is particularly helpful for mobile customers on the go and need a simple way to get in contact with you. It is important to set up an Ad Schedule Bid Adjustment for call extensions so that your number will only appear when someone is available to take the call. Additionally, you can set up call conversion tracking, where Google can send you a forwarding number. It helps you to measure the effectiveness of your call extensions or call-only adverts.


As you can see, there is much potential in Google ads for restaurants. To get the most out of your investment, make sure you stick to the best practices.

The restaurant business may be daunting but we are fortunate to live in the age of digital ads where we can meet very distinct groups of people who are perfectly aligned with your brand. Through taking the time to set clear business goals you will initiate and refine proper promotions to drive new customers on a regular basis. Through understanding the value of your customer’s lifetime, you can guide your campaigns to profitability by always ensuring that the ads generates more sales over time than the costs incurred.

We hope that this in-depth guide helps you get started with running Google Ads for restaurants. If you need help or have additional queries, feel free to connect with us.

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