google ads for restaurants ads

As a savvy restaurant owner or operator, you know that capturing the attention of the right patrons at the right time is crucial to driving foot traffic and boosting your bottom line.

In an industry where trends are ever-evolving, it’s more important than ever to target specific customers effectively and affordably. Join us as we dive into the strategies that’ll help your restaurant shine in the competitive landscape without breaking the bank!

Are Google Ads good for restaurant marketing strategy?

It would be an understatement to say that the restaurant industry is in a constant state of change. Your restaurant faces the same basic issues as it always has, namely- gaining access to potential patrons who are searching for dining options.

Google Ads is not a “magic bullet” that will make all of your dreams come true. However, Google Ads for small business can provide a valuable component of a larger marketing strategy for your restaurant.

You can use Google Ads to rank above your competitors in Google search results with PPC marketing and Google Ads. Specifically, you can use some 5 Google Ads optimization ideas to decrease your Cost-Per-Click:

  1. Target restaurant searchers in your geographic area
  2. Bid on profitable keywords & high search intent
  3. Modify when restaurant ads show
  4. Use ad extensions to increase your visibility
  5. Build a remarketing campaign to increase brand awareness

restaurant google ads tips cta2 strategybeam

Since your restaurant likely works on thin margins, you may be apprehensive about running any paid marketing strategies. Google Ads for restaurants is one of the best ways to reach potential customers, build your brand, and grow your online presence. Google search ads can be targeted to drive more local foot traffic to your restaurant business.

Before we talk about how to make Google Ads work for your restaurant, I think it’s essential to give an overview of how Google Ads can help your restaurant address specific needs and reach your goals.

Restaurant Goal How To Address With Google Ads Results
Boost Local Foot Traffic Geo-targeting campaigns Use Google Ads to target local customers searching for dining options with appealing ad copy. Focus on location-based targeting to increase foot traffic and attract more diners.
Run Ads At Specific Dates & Times Ad scheduling Google Ads’ scheduling and targeting can reach diners during prime meal times, increasing the chances of attracting customers.
Increase Groups & Events Keyword Targeting Use Google Ads to create targeted campaigns for private events/group bookings. This can increase restaurant revenue by attracting potential customers searching for event spaces/venues.
Build Brand Awareness Remarketing campaigns Retargeting previous website visitors or online brand engagements can increase customer loyalty and retention by reminding them of offerings and enticing them to return.
Attract Specific Demographic Demographic Targeting Advertise to specific demographics like age, gender, or income to attract ideal customers. This increases effectiveness and draws in those more likely to enjoy your offerings.


How Google Ads work for the restaurant industry

As a restaurant owner navigating the competitive landscape of the culinary world, you’re continually seeking innovative ways to stand out. Google Ads, an essential component of a comprehensive marketing strategy, offers a powerful tool for targeting and engaging with potential patrons.

By harnessing the power of Google Ads, you can elevate your restaurant’s visibility, attract a wider audience, and ultimately, strengthen your position in the market. Let’s delve into the value Google Ads brings to your restaurant’s marketing efforts.

restaurant google ads tips strategybeam cta1

How Do Local Restaurant Searchers Find Restaurants?

Many restaurant owners write off Google Ads because of unknowns with costs, management, and expectations. However, this could be a big mistake because, as we mentioned earlier, Google restaurant ads could be just the thing your restaurant needs to drive more traffic and meet your business goals.

Since you pay Google each time someone clicks on your restaurant ad, you need to do everything you can to ensure your ads only appear to the right people at the right time and meet your business goals.

You take enough risks with your restaurant marketing strategy, and we want to make sure that you don’t waste your advertising spend or miss opportunities. This is why we put together the top Google Ads tips to help you reach local restaurant searchers through Google Ads.

1. Set up your account properly

Launching a successful Google Ads campaign for your restaurant hinges on meticulous account setup. A well-structured account is a foundation for delivering targeted, relevant ads that resonate with potential patrons.

In this section, we’ll explore the significance of properly organizing ad groups, keywords, and ads to maximize campaign efficiency and reach the right audience at the right time, ultimately driving foot traffic and boosting your establishment’s bottom line.

Choose the right campaign objective

You have complete control over how you set up your Google Ads campaign for your restaurant, and the first step to a successful campaign is to choose the correct campaign objective. 

When setting up your Google Ads campaign, you’ll find a range of objective types, each focusing on a specific goal. For instance, some objectives prioritize driving foot traffic to your restaurant, while others emphasize boosting online reservations or promoting takeout and delivery services. By selecting the appropriate objective, you can strategically target potential customers who are more likely to engage with your restaurant.

Google Ads campaign objectives strategybeam

You can choose from the main objectives when setting up your Google Ads campaigns. Each one is meant to promote a different aspect of your business, so make sure you know your goals from the beginning to align the objectives with your goals: 

  • Sales: This campaign objective focuses on driving transactions, such as online orders, reservations, or gift card purchases. By targeting customers with a higher intent to make a purchase, this campaign helps restaurant owners increase revenue and enhance their bottom line.
  • Leads: Designed to generate inquiries, this objective aims to capture potential customer information, like email addresses for newsletter subscriptions or catering inquiries. Restaurant owners can use these leads to build relationships and convert prospects into loyal patrons.
  • Website traffic: This objective aims to increase the number of visitors to your restaurant’s website, where potential customers can explore your menu, make reservations, or discover your unique selling points. Boosting website traffic can directly impact restaurant bookings and overall brand exposure.
  • Product and brand consideration: With a focus on engaging customers who are in the decision-making process, this objective showcases your restaurant’s offerings, such as signature dishes or unique dining experiences. This campaign helps restaurant owners stand out from competitors and position their brand as a top choice among potential diners.
  • Brand awareness and reach: Designed to increase visibility and recognition, this campaign objective exposes your restaurant to a broader audience by targeting users who may not be actively searching for dining options. This can help restaurant owners attract new customers and expand their market reach.
  • App promotion: This objective encourages users to download and engage with your restaurant’s app, enabling features like easy reservation booking, online ordering, or loyalty rewards. By driving app adoption, restaurant owners can streamline the customer experience and foster long-term loyalty.
  • Local store visits and promotion: This campaign objective targets potential customers within a specific geographic radius, encouraging them to visit your restaurant by highlighting promotions or local events. This can help restaurant owners increase foot traffic, drive repeat business, and establish a strong presence within their community.

Typically, you will want to choose the “sales” or “local store visit” objectives when setting up a new Google Ads account for your restaurant. Feel free to contact our team with any questions; we would be happy to provide you with some insight!

Organize campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keywords

OK, now that you have identified your campaign’s goal and chosen the objective, you need to begin setting up your campaigns, ad groups, keywords, and ads. 

This is one of the hardest parts of setting up a Google ads campaign for a restaurant because your entire campaign could fail if you don’t get this part of the process correct. 

Everything you do in your Google Ads campaign needs to be focused on organizing your keywords and ads into tight ad groups. Google uses this organization to understand what your ads are about.

You can see significantly higher costs and lower conversions if your ad groups, keywords, and ads are not aligned properly. For example, you should create different ad groups with unique keywords and ads in each for various initiatives like: 

  • Best [type of restaurant] in [your city]
  • Best hamburgers in [your city]
  • Mother’s Day special in [your city]
  • Lunch happy hours in [your city]
  • Catering in [your city]

You should begin building ad groups, keywords, and ads by first thinking about your business goals. For example, if you wanted to build an ad group for “Mother’s Day specials,” then you would want to build a new ad group with only keywords and ad copy that speaks to the Mother’s Day special you offer. Then you would want to set the ads to only show in the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, and your ads would need to point to a landing page on your website that is only about Mother’s Day. 

Setting up your ad groups, keywords, and ads in cohesive groupings will help improve the relevancy of the ads and ensure you get the best ROI possible. 

A lot goes into setting up a healthy Google Ads account, and it all starts with how well you build each campaign around ad groups, keywords, and ads. You also need to pay special attention to the type of campaigns you run and the objectives for each campaign.

Consider hiring PPC management services to help you build out your campaigns. A small investment upfront will set you up for long-term success for years!

2. Target Restaurant Searchers In Your Geographic Area

Specifying the geographic area that your ads show helps you pre-qualify restaurant searchers

One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when building a restaurant, Google Ads is that they don’t target the right audience. You need to drive traffic from local restaurant searchers in your geographic area.

restaurant ads Google Ads radius geotargeting

You can talk to your staff to determine how far most patrons travel, but you can rest assured that most diners will not drive more than 30-45 minutes to your restaurant.

Unless you are hosting a big concert or have established yourself as a go-to spot in your city, people are likely looking for a restaurant near them. If you struggle with this aspect of your account, then you can use AI tools to help manage Google Ads. Tools like ChatGPT and Bard can help you determine what geographic areas you should focus your ad spend on and then you can use that information to focus your ad spend on qualified patrons.

You can take this information to your advantage and only target restaurant ads to show to searchers based on their geographic area.

Your chosen range will determine your goals, and you can run multiple ad campaigns throughout the week while adjusting the geographic targeting for each. Here are a few examples of how you can improve the geographic targeting based on your goals:

  • Weekly Lunch or Dinner Crowd: Some restaurants have found great success by running Google Ads to drive awareness and foot traffic for specific times of the day. If you are trying to reach potential customers for Wednesday lunch, you should use a 1-2 mile geographic area. This is because the lunch crowd will typically walk to your restaurant from work, and targeting a wide geographic range will only increase your ad spend.
  • Special Events: You can use a more comprehensive geographic range for special events like concerts or live music. Since these are one-off events, you can target your entire city or region. This is an excellent way to generate more demand for a high-profile event.
  • Holidays & Celebrations: Typically, people are looking for the best restaurants to host a celebration or holiday. Each year you will see high demand for Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc. These dates typically drive lots of foot traffic without advertising, but your restaurant can use Google restaurant ads to help meet your business needs if you have seen a drop in engagement during these holidays in the past.

You can see from the above examples that you should use geographic targeting to reach restaurant searchers based on their needs. The great thing is that you can see all of this data in PPC reporting right from Google Ads with tools like Google Ads auction insights.

Be sure to set the geographic range setting when creating different campaigns in Google Ads. Limiting the range that your ads show will restrict the amount of wasted marketing budget while also showing your ads to people who are more likely to take action.

restaurant google ads tips cta2 strategybeam

3. Bid On Profitable Keywords & High Search Intent

Using Google restaurant ads is a great way to generate highly targeted traffic, and you should only run restaurant ads to attract the attention of specific restaurant searchers.

In the previous Google restaurant ad tip, we saw that focusing your ad spend on a geographic region near your restaurant is the first step to improving this marketing channel’s results. In the same fashion, you should only bid on targeted keywords with high search intent.

Most restaurant owners hesitate to use Google restaurant ads because they think they need to bid on high-cost keywords like [city] restaurants.

However, the truth is that you should not bid on the types of keywords that are too broad. Not only do these keywords drive lots of total traffic, but they also have too much competition even to make it a reasonable choice for a smaller marketing budget.

Instead, you should focus on keywords that people would search for if they look for a restaurant with specific elements that are unique to your restaurant. Here are some basic ideas that you can use as you build your keyword lists:

  • “Restaurants near me”
  • “Food delivery”
  • “Takeout specials”
  • “Best restaurants in [your city name]
  • “Lunch specials”
  • “Family-friendly restaurants”
  • Etc.

For example, a sushi restaurant in Chicago might choose keywords such as “sushi restaurant Chicago,” “best sushi in Chicago,” and “Japanese cuisine in Chicago.”

When it comes to running a successful Google Ads campaign for your restaurant, selecting the right keywords is crucial. By investing time and effort into identifying the most relevant keywords, you can ensure that your ads reach the right audience and drive conversions for your business.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you think through the right keywords to use in your Google Ads campaigns:

  • Your restaurant’s name: This is to help keep you top of mind, while also combatting against the efforts of restaurant review sites like Yelp. You will notice that Yelp and other restaurant review sites dominate the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), and this means that you could be losing patrons in the customer journey. Instead of missing out on crucial information like email addresses during the reservation stage, you can drive qualified traffic to your site at a low cost with branded Google restaurant ads.
  • Brunch/Sunday Brunch: Brunch and Sunday Brunch has become a staple for many communities. If your restaurant offers Sunday Brunch, then you can run restaurant ads to highlight this offer. You can use different variations of Sunday Brunch keywords to get your ads to appear at the top of Google, and this can be a great way to drive demand for this service.
  • Vegan & speciality options: Many diners are looking for restaurants that provide special menu items like vegan and kosher meals. If your restaurant offers these types of dishes, then you should build compelling Google restaurant ads to appeal to this crowd. These ads should link to relevant landing pages with more information, or go right to your reservations tool.
  • Live music & entertainment: If your restaurant offers live music or other elements that could drive a crowd, then you can feature these offers in Google restaurant ads. Be sure to link to a relevant landing page and provide more information to show people that your restaurant is the best choice.
  • Special events & holidays: Typically, your restaurant will see an upsurge of foot traffic during holidays and other special events. Some holidays, like Valentine’s Day, provide the perfect opportunity to outrank your competition and drive more demand for your restaurant. You can capture more patrons by running targeted ads leading up to holidays to direct local restaurant searchers to your website or other content.

The list of ideas to build your restaurant ads around is endless, and you should think about your target audience when choosing keywords to bid on for Google restaurant ads.

4. Modify Your Restaurant Ad Schedule

Google Ads offers a powerful feature called Ad Scheduling, which enables you to reach your target audience at the perfect time. With Ad Scheduling, you can strategically display your ads during specific hours or days, ensuring they are seen by potential customers when they’re most likely to dine out or order in.

Ad Scheduling is your secret ingredient to boost your ad campaign’s effectiveness. By modifying your ad schedule, you can focus on prime dining hours or target specific meal periods, such as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This ensures that your ads are relevant and engaging, ultimately leading to higher click-through rates and conversions.

Here are some ways for you to use Ad Scheduling in your restaurant Google Ads: 

  • Target prime dining hours: Schedule your ads to appear during peak dining times, such as lunch (11 am – 2 pm) and dinner (5 pm – 9 pm), to ensure they are seen by potential customers when they are most likely to be considering dining out or ordering in. For example, if you want to drive more demand for Wednesday lunch, then you should only run ads on Wednesday starting at 10 A.M. This ensures that your target audience will see the ads at a time that meets their needs and your business goals.
  • Promote special offers: Align your ad schedule with limited-time deals, happy hours, or daily specials to increase visibility and draw in customers seeking exclusive offers. For example, promote a “Two-for-One Tuesdays” deal by scheduling ads on Tuesday afternoons.
  • Special events/ entertainment: You can use Google restaurant ads to raise awareness for an upcoming concert or event at your restaurant for a target audience. For example, if you have a concert coming up in a month, you can run ads a few weeks before the event. This is a great way to drive engagement among restaurant searchers who are looking for a good time.
  • Leverage seasonal opportunities: Modify your ad schedule to promote seasonal dishes or events, like a summer patio opening or a winter holiday menu. You can attract customers seeking fresh and exciting dining experiences by emphasizing these timely offerings.
  • Holidays & celebrations: If you want to raise awareness and drive more reservations for an upcoming holiday, then you can run Google restaurant ads leading up to that day. For example, if you want to use restaurant ads for Valentine’s Day, you could run ads a few weeks before Valentine’s Day. Be sure to link your ads to a relevant landing page with more information and a clear Call To Action (C.T.A.) to reserve a table.

5. Use Ad Extensions For Your Restaurant Ads

Ad Extensions for Google Ads campaigns are powerful tools to help your restaurant attract more local foot traffic, increase calls, and build trust with hungry patrons. By expanding your ads with additional information, Ad Extensions can make your ads more engaging and effective.

A carefully crafted Google Ad will target relevant keywords, and the ad copy will be engaging. But you can make your restaurant ads stand out even more with the right ad extensions. These snippets of information can provide additional information about your restaurant and your location and build trust with your audience to help drive more traffic and phone calls.

Call Extension

A call extension is one of the best ad extensions that you can apply to your Google restaurant ads. This is because this extension will prominently display your restaurant’s phone number, and this can drive more calls.

When seen on mobile, this extension allows potential customers to click on your phone number and call your staff. Most restaurant owners want to increase the volume and quality of calls to their restaurant to boost the chances of a valuable conversion. You can do this by adding a call extension to your Google restaurant ads.

In addition to driving more calls, you can also set up the option in Google Ads to track calls from ads using a unique phone number. This is great to track the effectiveness of your restaurant ads while making it easier than ever for potential customers to reach your team!

restaurant ads google ads call extensions

Location Extension

Location extensions help local restaurant searchers drive to your restaurant. This is because this ad extension displays your physical address on the ad, and when displayed on mobile, it provides a quick way for people to tap into Google Maps to get directions.

In addition to showing your restaurant’s physical address, it can also include the phone number and call button so patrons can quickly call your business.

If you want to encourage customers to visit your restaurant, then you should include location extensions in all of your ad campaigns. Since most restaurant searchers are using a mobile device to find a restaurant, you can increase foot traffic with the address and quick method to get in contact with your staff!

restaurant ads google ads location extensions

Review Extensions

Seller ratings are an automated ad extension that you can apply to your Google restaurant ads. This extension shows the star rating and several reviews from your Google My Business.

Google requires your business to have at least 100 reviews and other requirements to show seller ratings on your Google restaurant ads. If you are serious about highlight the quality of your restaurant, then you can’t go wrong with including the review extension in your Google restaurant ad campaigns!

restaurant ads google ads sell rating extensions

Sitelink Extensions

Sitelinks are a set of unique links that you can add to your Google restaurant ads. Each link will direct local restaurant searchers to specific pages on your website. Whenever someone taps on a site link, they will be directed to a page to learn more about your restaurant based on the information you provide in the ad.

Sitelink extensions are a great addition to any restaurant ad because they provide additional information to searchers and drive traffic to specific landing pages. In addition to providing a means to learn more about your restaurant, this extension also allows you to track engagement, and you can even customize sitelinks for mobile devices.

restaurant ads google ads sitelink extensions

Structured Snippet

You can highlight specific aspects of your restaurant with structured snippet extensions. This information can provide even more details to restaurant searchers when choosing a place to dine at.

You can use structured snippets to help patrons find more information about your food and services. A few ways that you can use structured snippets in Google restaurant ads is to showcase amenities, types of foods, and upcoming shows.

restaurant ads google ads structured snippet

restaurant google ads tips strategybeam cta1

How much does it cost for a restaurant to run Google Ads?

As a restaurant owner or manager considering Google Ads, it’s essential to understand the potential costs involved and the factors that can influence your budget. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much you should spend on Google Ads, several elements should be taken into account to make informed decisions.

First, consider your overall marketing budget and determine the portion you’d like to allocate to Google Ads. This will vary depending on your business size, location, and marketing objectives. It’s crucial to strike a balance between investing enough for meaningful results and not overspending, causing financial strain.

Next, research your target keywords using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner. This tool provides valuable insights into search volume, competition, and estimated costs per click (CPC) for the keywords relevant to your restaurant. This data will help you gauge the potential costs of bidding on specific keywords and assist in optimizing your ad spend.

Another aspect to consider is your desired return on investment (ROI). Set clear goals for your campaigns, such as increasing reservations, driving website traffic, or raising brand awareness. Monitor metrics like click-through rates (CTR), cost per acquisition (CPA), and conversion rates to assess your campaign performance. These indicators will help you understand the costs involved and determine if adjustments need to be made to achieve your desired ROI.

Reach your goals with Google Ads!

If you have not heard of Google Ads before or are on the fence about whether you should use search ads in your restaurant marketing strategy, I’d encourage you to check out the solution.

Remember that restaurant marketing relies upon your ability to reach qualified leads near your restaurant’s location. You can use engaging ad copy to tell your story and add extensions to display additional information.

Ready to elevate your restaurant’s online presence and attract more customers?

Let StrategyBeam help you create and manage highly effective Google Ads campaigns tailored to your unique needs. Contact us today and watch your business thrive!

Google Ads for restaurants FAQs

Absolutely! Google Ads are a great way to target customers who are near your location and interested in a great meal. You can use different types of campaign types to generate more calls, website visits, and reservations.

You can use Google ads to reach your target audience, and you can use restaurant Facebook ads to show off your dishes and entertainment. You can use geographic settings to ensure you maximize results and minimize ad spend.

The best way to advertise your restaurant is to focus on your local customers. You can use restaurant local SEO strategies to show up in the Google Map Pack.

About the Author: Chris

Chis is the Lead Strategist at StrategyBeam with over 19 years of marketing know-how up his sleeve. He loves transforming business marketing campaigns into success stories by boosting efficiencies across all campaigns. When not strategizing, he can be found laughing at the monkeys at the zoo.


  1. Avatar
    palvinder August 24, 2021 at 2:51 am - Reply

    nice information..
    also have my own restro. love to apply these tips ..

  2. Avatar
    leila September 6, 2023 at 8:41 am - Reply

    very nice

  3. Avatar
    Riya Singh February 21, 2024 at 7:54 am - Reply

    The information that you have shared about the Google ads are amazing for a food business.

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