Over the last two months, the restaurant industry in Canada has dramatically changed, and Canadians are searching online to understand their new dining options. As many dine-in restaurants and bars close their doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, restaurant owners are looking for new ways to serve customers and keep the lights on.
- Canadian Google searches for “takeout” increased +180% in April compared to January 2020
- Canadian Google searches for “delivery” increased +130% from March to April, compared to the 30 days prior
- In 2018, 7% of Canada’s workforce was employed in the restaurant industry, including one in five Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24 (Restaurants Canada)
To help restaurants during this time, Google is sharing new, free tools to make it easier for local restaurants to say how they are operating including adjusted hours or updated delivery options, such as curbside pickup, no-contact delivery or takeout. These attributes appear on a restaurant’s business profile on Google Search and Maps and are visible when customers are looking for dining options. Businesses can even create a COVID-19 post on their business profile to share any new safety precautions they’ve implemented to keep customers safe.
What would you say has been the biggest impact that COVID-19 has had on your business? What challenges have been raised?
Fiorentina has been around for 8 years, and we have strong community support. With COVID-19, we had to find an alternate way of doing business; shortly after in-house dining was prohibited, we launched an online store. People can order and pay with ease and safety.
My husband and I work together as business owners. With childcare centers closed, it’s been challenging to balance running the business, while taking care of our young children. To accommodate, we’ve changed our business hours from being open 6 days a week to only being open Tuesday-Thursday from noon to 7 pm. We also had to let go of our wait staff.
What marketing strategies have you been using to help promote your business? What initiatives have you implemented that have benefited the restaurant?
Google My Business updates have been helpful for us to let customers and anyone searching for us know our updated hours and menu offerings. We’ve added our new forms of dining, including no-contact delivery and curbside pickup.
In terms of offerings, we noticed many people are buying for the week; so we’ve added large family-size servings to our menu, such as a full lasagna. We’ve also added a pantry section, featuring broths, sauces, sourdough starter, etc.
“Updating our business profile was easy to do on Google, and this helped us share our new website, and let customers know we’re offering curbside pick-up and delivery, despite being temporarily closed for dine-in. Now anyone searching for restaurants in the neighbourhood can see that we’re still open and offering adjusted services. Our customers and community have been extremely appreciative of these updates, and continue to support us while we stay open for business.” – Tina Leckie, Business Owner of Fiorentina
How has Google helped your business during this time?
Our Google My Business profile has been instrumental in keeping our customers updated on the changes we’ve had to make during this time. We were easily able to update our profile with details of our website, new hours, and features. It was easy to do and helpful for our customers who are searching for us online.
We’ve also used Google My Business to share ongoing posts and seen great traction; it’s very user friendly.
What advice can you give to other restaurant owners during these challenging times to help them?
It’s an incredibly challenging time as a business owner, especially in the restaurant business. We have found our community wants to support us and businesses that they have relied on; so when the dust settles, we will all still be around. Keeping them informed on how we’re operating, as well as having an easy, safe system in place (like the online store) has allowed them to do so. Together we’ll get through this.