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What This New Google Places Change Means to Your Restaurant Business

Google has just rolled out a major change to Google Places. In fact, there are two major changes that concert restaurants.

  1. Google Places is now merged into Google Plus (or Google+), the social media platform from Google.
  2. Reviews on Google Places are now provided and manages by Zagat. So instead of the usual 5-star rating system you will start seeing 30-point Zagat ratings based on a several parameters (I.e., the food is ranked separately from decor etc).

As a sidenote, Google does own Zagat, which it purchased last year for just over $150 Million.

So what do these changes mean to your restaurant business and the way you marketing your restaurant?

  • You can no longer ignore Google Plus as it becomes a much more important in influencing search-engine rankings. If you’ve been having a hard time trying to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and other social media tools, now you need to add another one to the mix.
  • Getting customers to leave reviews on your old Places page was hard enough but it gets harder yet. First, they have to be on Google Places, then they need to log in and search for your restaurant on there, and when and if they found you, they can leave a review. It’s likely that more people who want to vent and leave a nasty comment will have the tenacity to jump through all the hoops. The tone of the reviews is likely to suffer a bit.
  • More major and dramatic changes are coming down the pike so it’s important to keep an eye on all this so that you don’t lose what you’ve already accomplished online.

You may be wondering if there is any good news in all this. And in fact, there is.

The good news (as far as marketing a restaurant goes) is that the whole online traffic landscape is shifting. It is in the times of major shifts like this that fortunes are created by those would know and do something about it.

Here’s more on this from the “horse’s mouth”:


Google is definitely not finished with the changes. One does not need to be a psychic to know that more major changes are just around the corner. Get up to speed on how to use these new tools in restaurant marketing and beat your competition into a punch.

What Makes Pinterest a Near-Perfect Tool for Restaurant Marketing

Pinterest is the new kid on the social media block that is demonstrating quite an amazing growth in popularity. Even the social media experts couldn’t see it coming. Yet’s it’s here and is attracting so many eyeballs I’m going as far as to say that it’s a near-perfect tool to use in restaurant marketing.

The tool is so new that before we talk about how to use Pinterest in restaurant marketing, we probably need to briefly review what the heck it is.

The name “pinterest” is combination of “pin” or “pinboard” and “interest”. So, basically, as a user, you get to setup pinboards and then pin the images you like to those pinboards. You can also “re-pin” other people’s images (much like you would re-tweet something on Twitter) or “like” them (much like you would do that on Facebook.)

Someone said that Pinterest is much like Facebook and Twitter, sans all the whining. This definition gives us a very important clue as to why Pinterest is so popular and how you can use it in your marketing.

So here’s what we know so far about Pinterest:

  • it’s based on images
  • it’s positive at its core

Now, it’s that a near-perfect combination to help you sell food? You just have to find ways to get more people to see your images and then add your images to their pinboards and spread the word for you.

Here are some ideas about how you can use Pinterest to market a restaurant:

  • Create a pinboard for each type of menu (breakfast, lunch, dinner) or food group (drinks, entrees, salas, deserts, etc)
  • Add boards like “Things We Like”, “Specials”, etc
  • Create boards that your customers will find useful and entertaining, such as “Awesome Recipes”, “Drink Mixology Tips”, “Wine Paring Ideas”, etc
  • Hold contests where you reward customers for pinning your images to their boards
  • Set up contests where your customers create images that promote your restaurant in some way. It could be the picture of their birthday party at your restaurant or of them wearing a t-shirt with your restaurant’s name on it while visiting various places around the world
  • Add a “Pin In” button to your website
  • Link all the images back to your website
  • “Watermark” the images with your restuarant’s name or website

Just remember that social media is “social” first and “media” a distant second. Focus on creating interaction with other users, contribute great content, share other people’s images, and act like a member of the community.

The currency in social media is attention. When you pay that to others, they will pay you back with that too.

Now let’s go online and start “pinning”!