What Google says about online reviews in the restaurant business (and why you should trust it)

On November 28, Google Netherlands presented the results of its research ‘How to book a restaurant’ about the online and offline behavior of Dutch people when it comes to booking a restaurant. The outcomes suggest there’s a lot of profit to be made online for restaurants in order to gain a head start.

Here’s what emerged – and how you can use this data for your business.

Let’s start with some numbers

On average, the Dutch go out for dinner a little over 2 times a month. They go in small groups and most of the time, without any special occasion. They also pay medium 27 euros per person (excl. drinks).

As a restaurant owner, you probably already know these trends. Turns out, the most relevant aspect of the research is not how Dutch people act once at the restaurant, rather how they act before they make a reservation: how do they come to a choice, which are the most influential factors in the process?

Restaurant choices are made online

When it comes to online reputation, nobody has a foolproof way to deal with it. A good start point can be analyzing the actual behaviors of people looking for a restaurant online. Here’s a list of the most common practices, originally published by the website of Koninklijke Horeca Nederland.

  • People who visit a restaurant for the first time do online research 3 times as often.
  • The more money one spends, the more online research one does for dinner.
  • Websites are the most important source of information, more important than friends and family.
  • Search engines are used most often, followed by the restaurant’s own site.
  • The popular comparison sites among people doing online research are iens.nl and eet.nu.
  • The search engine is the portal to restaurant sites: on these sites, a lot of time is spent.
  • The average online orientation time is 30 minutes, of which 25 minutes at different restaurants and 5 minutes at comparison sites.
  • The average duration between the first and last online action in the orientation of a restaurant is 7 days.
  • Mobile search for restaurants is growing fast: websites should be mobile friendly.
  • Dutch people use an average of three devices to go online.
  • The catering industry must be ready for the multi-screen consumer: SOLOMO (social, local, mobile).
  • Most restaurant related searches on Google are local in nature.
  • (Local) findability and reviews are important.

What you can do: Five tips based on the results

1 Create a great website – your online store! – The ultimate business card of your company.

2. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, for example with responsive design.

3. Optimize (local) findability in search results and Google Maps.

4. Claim your (free) listing on Google and make sure to fill out all your information.

5. Make sure you get a good ranking on review sites.

6. Given the crucial role online reviews play for your business, do you still want to spare just a few moments to manage them?

7. Start to use the unlimited potential of online marketing, now. Take your business to the next level!

Want to take action but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Leave your email below, and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP.