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Helping local restaurants to connect with customers during times of uncertainty

Tina Leckie is the owner of Fiorentina, a restaurant in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood specializing in farm to table cuisine that has been dishing up meals with local ingredients for the past eight years. As many dine-in restaurants and bars close their doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, restaurant owners like Tina are looking for new ways to serve customers and keep the lights on.

Over the last two months, the restaurant industry has dramatically changed and Canadians are searching online to understand their new dining options. While people are still searching for "local restaurants near me," the focus has shifted to alternative mealtime solutions. For example, Canadian searches for "takeout" increased +180% in April compared to January 2020 and we saw “delivery” search interest increase 130% from March to April, compared to the 30 days prior.

To help restaurants during this time, Google has launched new tools to make it easier for restaurants to share how they are operating. Canadian restaurants can now update their free Google My Business business listing to communicate 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 that meet their needs. 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.

Helping local restaurants to connect with customers during times of uncertainty
Helping local restaurants to connect with customers during times of uncertainty

Toronto’s Fiorentina has updated their Google My Business listing to let customers know they are now offering curbside pickup and no-contact delivery. Businesses can also create a COVID-19 post on their profile to share any new safety precautions they’ve implemented.

For Tina, digital tools have made all the difference in keeping Fiorentina open. “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,” said Tina. “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.”

“Small businesses have and always will be critical to the Canadian economy, and as consumers shift purchasing behaviour to online, it’s imperative that businesses are also online and can be found,” says John Kiru, Executive Director of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. “Google My Business helps restaurants not only be found online, but also connect with customers and let them know important updates like revised store hours, alternative service options, and new safety measures implemented during COVID-19.”

Since launching Google My Business, we’ve helped more than 150 million local businesses globally connect with people who are looking for them online. The pandemic presents unique challenges to the restaurant industry and while the path forward is not yet clear, we’re committed to supporting our local communities. Business owners can learn more on our Small Business Hub or join a free, virtual workshop.