5 highly-effective PPC strategies for restaurants

4 Minute Read

Restaurants and food businesses have had a particularly difficult time over the past 18 months but, now, the focus is on recovery. According to ONS data, consumer spending on hospitality began increasing in May 2021 but remains 70% of pre-pandemic levels, which increases competition during a period of lower demand.

In this article, we look at five advanced PPC strategies for restaurants to win customers, drive foot traffic and help you bounce back stronger than ever.

#1: Create local campaigns with ad scheduling

Local campaigns show your business to people in your area across Google properties, including Google Search, Maps, YouTube and the Display Network. When you create your campaign, you define the location you want to promote by linking your Google My Business account or selecting affiliate locations.

You also define a budget for your campaign and create a set of ad assets for each property. Google then uses its machine learning technology to optimise bids, ad placements and asset combinations to maximise your in-store conversion goals.

As the search giant explains in this Google Ads success story, you can combine local campaigns with ad scheduling to prevent ads from showing while your place is closed and encourage impressions during your most profitable hours:

“By creating Local Campaigns, they were able to serve ads only to customers in the area covered by their delivery service. They also restricted the timing of campaigns to restaurant operating hours, and the busiest times for ordering and dining – this ensured that they were spending wisely, at the time of day when customers would be most likely to order.”

Google’s algorithm works to find the best combination of ad placements and campaign settings to maximise store visits and conversions. Although this is an automated campaign format, you retain control over targeting options like ad scheduling to enhance results.

Read how we’ve helped KFC and Harvester

#2: Run ads on Google Maps with location extensions

Local businesses can run ads on Google Maps so, if a user types “pizza delivery” into Google Maps or clicks on the Maps feed in Google Search, they’ll see something like the following:

Restaurant PPC advert for pizza delivery in Google Maps

Here, the paid ad places Domino’s Pizza at the top of the pack and it also places a pin on its local results, making it more visible than the regular organic pins.

You can also use location extensions to provide users with contextual information about your business, including:

  • Location name and distance from the user (mobile)
  • Business street address (desktop)
  • A clickable “call” button
  • Access to additional business info, including – opening hours, phone number, photos and directions

So here’s what this may look like on a Search ad for the same “pizza delivery” query: 

Restaurant PPC advert for Domino's in Google search results

As you can see, Domino’s Pizza has two locations near the user so the ad shows distance and location information for both and two clickable call buttons, allowing users to call either branch and place an order right away.

#3: Drive menu-based conversions with ad extensions

Referring to the Domino’s Pizza ad above, here we’ve got two sitelinks, one labelled “Buy One, Get One Free” and the other “Order Online Now”. Including the headline, ad text and sitelink, the ad references online orders three times and the sitelink allows users to click through to the online menu and place their order.

The ad ramps up incentive with the offer of a “Buy One, Get One Free” offer and both sitelinks lead to key conversion pages, which are ideal for remarketing campaigns for users who don’t place an order or book a table on the first visit.

Learn about our restaurant experience here

#4: Target local competitors

Another tactic for jumping up the pack of results is to bid on local competitors’ brand name keywords. So, if we stick with the pizza concept, rival restaurants might bid on the keyword “dominos pizza” to jump the queue, as you can see from Papa John’s here:

Restaurant PPC advert for Papa Johns targeting the keyword Domino's

This ad is especially effective because it positions itself as a more affordable option with that compelling 40% discount on orders over £25. Also, take note of that sitelink extension for “Student Offer,” which speaks out to a key target audience in a university city.

#5: Track in-store conversions

Shop visit conversion tracking attributes in-store conversions to ad views and engagement during searches that generate foot traffic. It works by matching users’ local search data and location history to identify sessions relevant to your business location followed by a journey to your premise.

Let’s say someone searches for sushi restaurants in their nearby area or a specific location and sees an ad in Google Search. If they later visit the restaurant featured in this ad, Google identifies that this user has travelled to the same location as the business and registers this as a store visit.

This shows you which ads are generating foot traffic so that you’re not only judging campaign performance on web conversions.

Need help with PPC for restaurants & hospitality?

If you need help with your paid advertising strategy for restaurant and hospitality businesses, check out our restaurant experience here or speak to our PPC experts by calling 02392 830 281 or filling out the contact form below.

James Faulkner profile picture
James Faulkner

James is Head of PPC at Vertical Leap - he joined us in 2012 and has over 20 years' experience working in digital marketing. His areas of specialism are paid search, Google Shopping and eCommerce PPC. Outside of work he enjoys fishing, camping and motorbiking.

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