As a restaurateur, you probably already know that having a great restaurant concept and fantastic food is only part of what you need to do to have a successful business. After all, without customers to buy your food and drinks, it’s impossible to turn a profit. So how can you get people in the door?
There are lots of ways that restaurants can let people know about their business – including signs, radio and newspaper ads, word of mouth, and other marketing tactics. But in today’s digital world, you’ll also need to have an online presence. This doesn’t just mean having a website or being active on social media; you should also be sure to snag a listing on some of the most popular online directories like Google Business, Yelp, and GrubHub. Best of all: these directories are free, so you won’t have to dip into your marketing budget to get listed.
Budget Branders understands the pressures of running a small business. That is why we are dedicated to helping restaurants, bars, coffee shops and breweries get the custom disposable products that they need at prices that work for them. Reach out today for a quote on our branded cups, bags, and bowls and more.
Why Should My Restaurant Be Listed in Online Directories?
In the past decade, the way that most Americans live has changed drastically. For better or for worse, we are more reliant on our phones, tablets, and computers than ever before. We use smartphones to get the news, shop, connect with others, and even (virtually) visit the doctor.
We also rely heavily on the internet when it comes to deciding where to eat. According to one study, 77% of diners check a restaurant’s website before deciding where to eat. Another study found that 94% of diners choose a restaurant based on their online reviews.
The bottom line is that having an online presence is important to any business in the modern era. People expect to be able to google your restaurant and find out information about it – such as phone number, menu, and hours of operation. They also want to review a website or social media page before deciding where to eat.
Perhaps more importantly, being listed in online directories means that your restaurant will come up in general searches for places to eat in an area. This can greatly expand your customer base, both with locals and people visiting the area. Think of it this way: if someone searches “restaurants in Grand Rapids,” do you want to be listed as a result or not?
Fortunately, there are plenty of free directories where – with a little bit of work – you can list your restaurant. Below, we outline some of the best free directories where you can list your restaurant.
Top 25 Free Restaurant Directories
There are lots of free online directories available, which can make it hard to know where to list your restaurant. Generally, it is better to list your restaurant in as many directories as possible since you don’t know how people will look for you. That being said, if you don’t have the bandwidth to do a number of listings, you should focus on the top options: Google Business, Yelp, and GrubHub.
While getting listed is fairly easy, it is also important to monitor these sites – particularly if there is an option to leave a review. You can’t stop people from leaving bad reviews, but you should respond to them thoughtfully to minimize the potential damage that it may do to your brand. You should also make sure that your information is up-to-date so that customers have the most accurate info possible.
Google is currently the most dominant search engine – which is why it is critical to have a Google Business Profile. This is how you get your restaurant to show up on the right side of the search results and how your business appears on Google Maps. Without a Google Business Profile, being listed on other sites won’t be nearly as helpful.
Research shows that claiming your listing on Google Business can lead to an average of 10% greater annual revenue. Failing to have an account can lead to 24% less in annual revenue. In other words, there is no real downside to having a Google Business Profile (GBP) – and a whole lot of potential benefits.
Claiming your GBP listing is pretty simple. Just search for your business online, and then verify that you own the business by following the steps after you click “claim my business.” From there, you’ll be able to add hours, photos, posts, and more, plus get and respond to reviews.
After GMB, Yelp is probably the most important site for restaurants to have a listing. This online review site has become incredibly popular, with many GPS apps linking to it when a person searches for a restaurant. For example, if a person is traveling and searches Apple Maps for places to eat, each listing will link to the restaurant’s Yelp site – assuming that they have one.
Getting a Yelp profile is relatively easy. Search for your restaurant on the site. If it’s there, follow the steps to claim it. Otherwise, you can add your restaurant to Yelp. Once your account is set up, you can add pictures, information, a menu, and more.
Because Yelp is primarily a review site, it is vital that you keep a close eye on any reviews. Responding to the reviews can be a good way to connect with customers. Just be sure to make sure that any responses are measured, particularly for bad reviews.
Most of us associate GrubHub with online food delivery. And while your restaurant can use GrubHub as a delivery partner (for a fee), you can also list your restaurant on the site. That way, when people are searching for something to eat, they will come across your business.
Best of all, when you set up a GrubHub listing, it will go onto other sites like MenuPages and Seamless. This makes it super easy to get yourself on a few different directories with minimal work. Just search for or add your business on GrubHub to get started.
OpenTable is often thought of as a reservation site – and it is a great system for managing online reservations. However, even if you don’t run reservations through OpenTable, you can still list your business on the site. That way, potential patrons will be able to find you easily and can read reviews of your restaurant.
To set up a listing, search for your restaurant on OpenTable. From there, you can either claim an existing listing or set up a new one.
You have probably heard of Zagat – a more exclusive restaurant review site that offers window stickers and other materials to let diners know that you are Zagat rated. Getting onto Zagat isn’t as easy as simply claiming a GMB listing. Instead, you’ll have to contact Zagat to ask to be rated. If you qualify, however, it could be a sign that your restaurant is a leader in your area.
Allmenus is a site that is dedicated to listing menus from restaurants across the country. In other words, customers can navigate to the website to find food that truly appeals to them. It is a good site to be listed on because it gives patrons another way to find you.
Getting listed on Allmenus is super easy. If you have a GrubHub listing, then it will automatically populate Allmenus.
Zomato isn’t as popular as it once was – but it is still a good idea to list your restaurant on this site. To do so, you’ll just need to create a restaurant page on the site. You can also choose to add online ordering to your Zomato profile. Otherwise, you can have a straightforward listing that customers will be able to find when they search for places to eat in your region.
Yahoo isn’t as popular of a search engine as Google – but plenty of people still use it for things like restaurant reviews. That is why it is important to get your restaurant listed on Yahoo. When people go to the local Yahoo page, they can search for restaurants in a particular area. If your restaurant is listed, it can help to generate business that you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.
You might not think of TripAdvisor as a place to list your restaurant, particularly if you’re not located in a tourist hotspot. But the reality is that people travel for all sorts of reasons, and when they go to your town, they will probably need to go out to eat. Having a listing on TripAdvisor ensures that when people are planning their trip, they can find your restaurant.
In the early 2000s, MapQuest was the way to get directions (which you would then print out and carry with you on your travels). While most people use their phone or car’s GPS system now, MapQuest still gets quite a few hits. When you list your restaurant on MapQuest, anyone who uses the site for directions will be able to easily navigate to your business.
They can also use the site to find food near them – which is incredibly helpful when people are coming from out of town and don’t know where to go to eat. Being listed means that your restaurant will come up as an option on MapQuest.
Like Yahoo, Bing isn’t the top search engine. However, plenty of people still use this Microsoft tool to find what they need – including a place to eat. Claiming your Bing profile is an easy way to ensure that your restaurant shows up on as many search sites as possible.
As the name implies, Restaurants.com is a site that is dedicated to restaurants. More specifically, it offers a way to search for restaurants by name, state, and/or city. While it may not be the first place that many patrons go to look for a place to eat, it doesn’t hurt to list your restaurant here as part of a more comprehensive strategy.
Merchant Circle is a social media network for business owners. There are more than 2 million merchants on the site, which sees 100 million visits each month. Businesses are sorted by category, which includes restaurants. Again, getting listed on the site is a good way to make sure that your business appears as often as possible in search results.
Like Allmenus, MenuPix is a site that offers pictures of menus from various restaurants. It often comes up in searches for menus, which is why it is a good idea to have a listing. Once you have created an account, you can add your restaurant and pictures of your current menu.
City-Data isn’t a traditional restaurant review site. Instead, it compiles data about various cities from various sources. It also offers a search function to find restaurants. While it may seem strange to have your restaurant listed on a site that features crime stats and other data, it can be part of an overall strategy to get listed on as many sites as possible.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) may seem like an old-fashioned concept – an agency where people could check out a business or file a complaint. Today, most people learn about businesses and leave reviews on sites like Google and Yelp. That doesn’t mean that the BBB is obsolete – particularly among older generations. For this reason, it’s smart to get listed on the BBB site, even if you don’t plan to become accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Like the BBB, the Yellow Pages may seem like a thing of the past. After all, most of us don’t refer to phone books to find a restaurant. That being said, the online version of the Yellow Pages can be helpful for people searching for a particular company. Setting up a listing is a good way to cover your bases and ensure that your information is listed accurately on the site.
Manta is a marketing platform that has existed for more than 20 years. While most people aren’t as familiar with Manta as they are with other platforms, it still appears in search engine results. You can add a free listing to the site, which allows users to search for a particular type of business by area.
Founded in 1995, Citysearch was one of the pioneers of online directory websites. As the name implies, its concept is simple: you can search for businesses in a particular city. While Citysearch may not be the most popular online directory, it isn’t a bad idea to put a free listing on this site as well.
For a period of time, checking in on FourSquare was quite a thing. Businesses often offered coupons and promotions to customers who checked in at their restaurant on FourSquare, which would then show up on the patron’s FourSquare profile and social media.
While FourSquare isn’t as popular as it once was, it still has its place in the restaurant world. Creating a listing is free, and can help to ensure that you show up on this and other sites.
At some point, you have probably looked someone up or done a reverse phone search on Whitepages. What you may not know is that you can also search for businesses on this website. Like the Yellow Pages, it may not be most users’ first choice for a restaurant search site – but since the listing is free, you should go ahead and set it up when you are claiming other profiles.
Superpages is a way to find local businesses. In many respects, it is similar to Yellow Pages and Whitepages. Although it may not be a top choice for finding a restaurant, having a listing on the site is free. You should be sure to claim or add your listing to boost your business’ profile.
Like Allmenus and Menupix, Menupages offers menus from restaurants across the United States. It also offers an online delivery option. Even if you don’t want to partner with the site for delivery, you should still claim your profile and add pictures of your menu to be sure that you are on as many sites as possible.
Facebook isn’t technically a review site. However, it is one of the most popular social media networks available – and a key source of information for people who want to learn more about a restaurant. Users can also search for restaurants by area. For these reasons, you should absolutely set up a Facebook page for your restaurant.
Facebook and Instagram are both owned by Meta Platforms – and are both important ways to reach potential customers. With an Instagram account, you can share enticing photos and videos of your restaurant and allow customers to tag you in their own content. Having an Instagram page also allows users to search for your restaurant or restaurants in your region. When you are setting up your Facebook page, take an extra moment to create a linked Instagram account as well for extra synergy.
Increase Restaurant Sales with Custom Branded Disposable Products
In this day and age, it pays to have a multi-pronged marketing strategy. Not only should you have a website and social media pages, but you should also use email marketing as well as traditional forms of advertising. Adding branded disposables to the mix is another great way to expand your restaurant’s branding.
Budget Branders works with independently-owned restaurants throughout the United States. We offer high quality disposable products, each of which can be printed with your restaurant, name, logo, slogan, and more. All of our products are available in quantities and at prices that make sense for the average small business owner.
Interested in learning more? Speak to one of our branding experts by pressing the live chat button or filling out a contact form.