Mitchells & Butlers

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Working at scale to get diners on seats

Mitchells & Butlers runs over 1700 pubs and restaurants throughout the UK, including well-known brands such as Harvester, Toby Carvery and All Bar One. We have been their dedicated SEO partner for many years, helping to increase visibility of their pubs and restaurants online when people are searching for places to eat and drink.


increase in table bookings from ‘near-me’ searches ​
increase in bookings via organic search
Total ROI

The early days

When Mitchells & Butlers first came onboard, the biggest focus was to analyse the vast volume of data and metrics associated with so many locations – this presented a huge challenge in terms of effort vs. ROI. Whilst it was important to scale as fast as possible, we needed to ensure that we were achieving the maximum results for their budget. Our approach of combining algorithmic analysis and expertise means that we can work at a scale not possible by people alone. Our intelligent automation platform Apollo Insights collected and analysed every data point and metric, providing prioritised insights for the search team to analyse. This freed up our specialists to then focus on implementing the suggested actions to achieve results as quickly as possible.

‘Near me’ searches provided a huge opportunity for Mitchells & Butlers, and we were quickly able to achieve some fantastic results for them, including:

  • 79% increase in table bookings from ‘near-me’ searches ​
  • 60% increase in bookings via organic search
  • Total ROI of 147%​

Support through COVID

Most pubs and restaurants understandably stripped back their digital marketing investment throughout the pandemic but Mitchells and Butlers were quick to get us back on board to ensure they were fully prepared to capture bookings once restrictions were lifted. Our priority was to restore the technical health of the website (which left unchecked will deteriorate over time) so we carried out various audits to provide a top level overview of what was happening in the industry (audience trends, changes in customer behaviour, competitor activity) and what needed doing on their website in response to these insights.

Adapting to post-pandemic trends

One of the major changes post-COVID was the retained focus on the takeaway service they now offered, requiring new content on their website to ensure they continued to capture this new audience. Based on our data research, we provided content recommendations where they had content gaps, and ‘content boost’ opportunities to help them steal online visibility from their competitors. A small but critical example was ensuring the website was optimised for keywords that people were actually searching for eg. ‘takeaway’ as opposed to terminology such as ‘click and collect’.

Another trend we noticed (previously more associated with gourmet restaurants) was the notable increase in searches for ‘instagrammable food’ which as a business they’ve been able to respond to by adapting their imagery on the website and in their campaigns. For younger diners, this has become a ‘reason to visit’ and consequently is now taken into consideration in the SEO strategy.

Likewise, understanding customer behaviour is a key driver when it comes to your search marketing strategy. For example, using apps to order at the table became popular throughout the pandemic and is something that Mitchells & Butlers offers to enhance the dining experience. Including this feature in the search marketing campaign messaging has therefore been key to capturing the attention of diners for whom this is important.

Keeping on top of keyword and behaviour trends like these and responding through your search marketing campaigns is critical to ensure restaurants stay relevant.

Mitchells & Butlers SEO case study showing inside of Harvester restaurant

Want results like these?

We have helped many well-known brands increase visibility of their restaurants and takeaway services online and ultimately increase table bookings and takeaway orders through advanced search marketing techniques.

To learn more about our restaurant experience, visit our restaurant marketing page, or send us your details and will give you a call. 

“Mitchells and Butlers engaged with the Vertical Leap SEO team to grow search visibility for 350+ restaurants. They've achieved the goals we set and we’ve since expanded the services they provide to include many more of our brands.”
Mitchells & Butlers
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