Google’s new features let restaurants inform customers about adjusted hours, pickup options

Google is rolling out new features for restaurants to showcase how they’re operating on their business profile that appears in Search and Maps.

Canadian restaurants on Google My Business can now update their profiles to include adjusted hours or updated delivery options, such as curbside pickup, no-contact delivery or takeout.

Google notes that these features are significant because the restaurant industry has dramatically changed and Canadians are searching online to understand their new dining options.

For instance, Canadian searches for “takeout” increased by 180 percent in April compared to January. Searches for “delivery” increased by 130 percent from March to April compared to the 30 days prior.

Stephanie Wong, a partner lead for food, beverage and restaurants at Google, tells MobileSyrup that Canadians are interested in supporting local businesses. She notes searches like “local restaurants near me” are at an all time high in the last month.

As part of the new update, businesses can also create a COVID-19 post on their business profile to share any new safety precautions they’ve implemented. Wong notes that this change is meant to give Canadians peace of mind as they are taking precautions and staying safe amid the pandemic.

“We’re hoping that these two features will cover the majority of what people are looking for. But, we’re continuing to pivot and seeing how things will evolve. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and determine other things that Canadians and restaurants need,” she noted.

Since some restaurants have had to shut down either permanently or temporarily, they can use the new tools to mark their status on Search and Maps.

“In the instance that a restaurant has multiple restaurants, and some are open and some are closed, they can use the update to mark which ones have temporarily closed,” Wong said.

Several businesses in Toronto have already started taking advantage of the new features to keep locals updated. Fiorentina, a restaurant in Toronto, has used the features to update its business profile with updated hours and pickup options.

“Now anyone searching for restaurants in the neighbourhood can see that we’re still open and offering adjusted services,” the restaurant’s owner, Tina Leckie, said in a Google blog post.

Google has also unveiled a resource hub that includes recommendations to help Canadian businesses navigate the pandemic. It offers tips on how companies can adjust their advertising, keep their customers informed and how to run a business remotely.

The tech giant has also launched free digital workshops to further help businesses navigate the pandemic.

Wong notes that although the pandemic presents unique challenges to the restaurant industry and the path forward is not yet clear, Google is committed to supporting local communities.

Image credit: Google