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Top 5 Food Trends of 2022

It’s no secret that many things have had a serious impact on the restaurant industry – from labor shortages to supply-chain issues, restaurants have had to get creative to survive – and it’s been TOUGH. In addition to these internal issues, many diners are still nervous to sit in crowded restaurants and prefer take-out to enjoy in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Here, The Manual shows us 2022’s top 5 food trends!

Ghost Kitchens – taking food to go is not going away anytime soon – even big companies like Wendy’s and Buca di Beppo are getting in on the action – Wendy’s is planning 700 ghost kitchens in the next 5 years! Research suggests this could be a trillion dollar industry over the next decade!

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  • Plant Power – vegan salmon, tuna sashimi and even bacon! More and more establishments are featuring plant-based menu options as more Americans embrace a vegan lifestyle.
  • Sustainable Packaging – At Metro Supplies, we proudly provide our clients with an array of sustainable options. Biodegradable straws and simple cardboard boxes are some green options restaurants can use to keep their customers happy while helping the environment.
  • Limited Menus with a Dash of Creativity – sky-high food prices and supply chain issues have forced restaurants to rethink their “typical” menus. According to the National Restaurant Association, 8 out of 10 restaurants have been forced to change their menus. Creating a more limited menu featuring truly delicious food choices help reduce labor and supply costs.
  • Food Fusions – more and more chefs are experimenting with try new cuisines and combining different styles of cooking. The possibilities are endless!
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Don’t Wait! Check Out the Richmond Jewish Food Festival!

Post originally appeared on WRIC.com

The Richmond Jewish Food Festival is back for one day only this weekend! Make sure to pre-order your food for pick up!

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Rich Goldberg and his wife have been with the Richmond Jewish Food Festival since day one. He attributes the evolution of the festival to his wife, Diane. “It was my wife’s idea to resurrect it from a previous incarnation,” Goldberg explained.

Goldberg said that the food festival originated at his synagogue, Keneseth Beth Israel, where it was put on annually for six years before the popularity of the festival outgrew the space available at the site.

“We just kept growing and growing until we outgrew the synagogue,” Goldberg described. “We decided to make it at a more appropriate location… this way we could consider it more of a Jewish community event.

The Richmond Jewish Food Festival now resides at The Weinstein Jewish Community Center, 5403 Monument Ave.

After its first year at the community center, the festival fully filled that space as well. Goldberg said that, in the inside of the center, there is a large auditorium where people would take their food to eat after ordering. They also had to set up heated tents around the outside of the community center to accommodate the amount of people attending.

“It’s 6,000-square-feet of tent space just for serving food,” he stated.

On average, over the two days of the festival, Goldberg said that around 10,000 people come by to take part and sample the array of foods offered.

After a hiatus in 2020, this year, Goldberg said the festival will look a little different:

  • In order to keep both attendees and volunteers safe, this year the 14th Annual Jewish Food Festival will be a one-day take home, “Heat n’ Eat” style event.
  • Guests are asked to order their food in advance off of a set menu online. They will then pick up their pre-cooked food at the Weinstein Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Jan. 16 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. No cash will be accepted.
  • Many regular menu items of the past will not be available due to cooking restraints, but fan favorites such as beef brisket, knish and stuffed cabbage will remain on this year’s menu.

“There are some restaurants around town that might serve some of these things, but these are authentic things and they are cooked by normal people,” Goldberg explained. “We don’t have any chefs on-hand or anything like that, its just the kinds of food that we would eat on our Sabbath, on our holidays, cooked by the people who do this normally for their family.”

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2021: A busy year for the RVA restaurant scene!

Post originally appeared on RichmondBizSense.com

It’s hard to remember a more highly-anticipated spring for diners than that of 2021, as the warmer weather coincided with wider COVID-19 vaccine access and a return to dining rooms all over the Richmond region.

Heaps of restaurant news followed: New concepts were announced, local restaurant groups expanded their footprints, and plenty of old restaurant spaces were given new life.

Richmond restaurant news in 2021
Derek Cha, left, and Mike Kim launched Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken in May, with the first location of the chicken sandwich joint opening in Ashland. (BizSense file photos)

Expansions

Tazza Kitchen’s Susan and John Davenport looked west for their latest concept, Conejo Cocina Mexicana, which is set to open in the forthcoming Westhampton Commons development. Brett Diehl of The Cocky Rooster also went westward, signing a lease in GreenGate to bring Short Pump a version of his Fan-born chicken spot.

Enrico “Jo Jo” Armetta is the owner of Jo Jo’s Famous Pizza.

Others looked south, such as Enrico Armetta, who made the leap to add a Midlothian location of his longtime downtown pizzeria Jo Jo’s Famous Pizza. Brad Barzoloski also went to Chesterfield for a location of his Capitol Waffle Shop in the Shops at the Arboretum.

EAT Restaurant Partners continued to expand into Richmond’s surrounding counties in 2021, opening a second PBR location (this time in Hanover County) as well as preparing to open a Wong’s Tacos restaurant in the Winterfield Crossing mixed-use development in Midlothian.

Ice cream chain Gelati Celesti kicked off plans to expand its Short Pump outpost and dished out a second Virginia Beach location in November.

Pop-ups and food trucks going permanent

 Pop-ups — temporary concepts often operated within another restaurant on limited days of the week — saw a spike in popularity over the last year, and a few did well enough to land brick-and-mortar spots in 2021.

Among them was Buttermilk and Honey, a takeout-friendly fried chicken concept Lillie Pearl owners Kimberly Love-Lindsey and Mike Lindsey started last year and took full-time in Short Pump. The married couple also became the new operators of Pop’s Market downtown.

The owners of the Jasper in Carytown occasionally turned their bar into a summertime noodle bar dubbed Slurp, and this fall they signed a lease to give the concept a full-time home in Union Hill.

JewFro, an African-Jewish fusion concept by the owners of Soul Taco, opened a permanent location in Shockoe Bottom this year after its original launch as a pop-up restaurant.

Soul Taco’s owners decided to make their Jewish and African fusion concept JewFro a permanent fixture of the local restaurant scene, opening in Shockoe Bottom after the concept had a run as a pop-up earlier in 2021.

A handful of food trucks also went the brick-and-mortar route.

Two operators found the Shops at Wellesley to be a perfect place to drop anchor. It started over the summer when John Vest found a brick-and-mortar space for his Redemption BBQ, then a few months later Thai Won On set up shop next door.

In the Fan, Westray Paul is turning his ice cream truck into an ice cream shop at 214 N. Lombardy St.

The pandemic also accelerated the arrival of ghost kitchens, the delivery-only spots where restaurateurs can set up shop without having a front door for customers to come through.

ChefSuite is working to open a kitchen on West Broad near Staples Mill, while a bit further east on Broad Street, Cloud Kitchens, run by a former Uber CEO, bought some space adjacent to The Hofheimer building.

New chains and concepts

Some local restaurant industry veterans kicked off new concepts in 2021.

Sweetfrog founder Derek Cha got in on the hot chicken sandwich craze in May when he opened his first Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken in Ashland. Cha also kicked off expansion of the concept in 2021, opening in Fairfax with plans for locations to open in Short Pump and near Regency in early 2022.

Sedona Taphouse owner Dennis Barbaro announced plans for a new concept called Napa Kitchen and Wine, which is slated to open in early 2022.

Garland Taylor opened Caribbean-inspired taco restaurant Sloop John B at Regency in November.

The year saw the opening of Sloop John B, a Caribbean-style taco restaurant by Garland Taylor that joined the Regency mall amid its revitalization effort in November.

Chains large and small from out of town also touched down in Richmond last year, including three taquerias.

Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos signed a lease in Carytown and is eyeing a 2022 opening, as is North Carolina’s Cabo Fish Taco in Scott’s Addition. Staunton-based Chicano Boy Taco opened in Midlothian in the fall.

From left, Philly Vegan owners Ratha Chhay, Samuel Veney and Celicia Hartridge, and Veney’s sister Tee.

pair of Philly cheesesteak restaurants debuted over the summer with Philly Vegan opening in Manchester and Str8 Out of Philly in Jackson Ward.

After his experience with Burgerim went south and led to a legal battle, local restaurateur Joey McCullough became a franchisee of California-based Fatburger.

Natalie Moore is the owner of Ruff Canine Club, which will be the first dog park-bar in the Richmond region when it opens near Scott’s Addition.

Natalie Moore is the owner of Ruff Canine Club, which will be the first dog park-bar in the Richmond region when it opens near Scott’s Addition.

Over near The Diamond, Natalie Moore opened a wholly new-to-Richmond concept in Ruff Canine Club, the region’s first dog park bar.

Old spaces, new faces

A common theme of 2021 was new restaurants taking over spaces that were vacated in recent years. Here’s a list:

New restaurantFormer tenantLocation
Ariana KabobFarouk’s House of India3033 W. Cary St., Carytown
Got DumplingsDeep Run Roadhouse309 N. Laurel St., VCU
CocodriloCaturra on Grove5811 Grove Ave., West End
Cobra BurgerDutch & Co.400 N. 27th St., Church Hill
Pinky’sUrban Farmhouse3015 Norfolk St., Scott’s Addition
Go BirdDunkin’6801 Forest Hill Ave., Forest Hill
Chewy’s BagelsJean-Jacques Bakery3138 W. Cary St., Carytown
Henley on GraceThe Red Door314 E. Grace St., Monroe Ward
MPM (Mom’s Siam, Pik Nik, My Noodle & Bar)Carolina Ale House11275 W. Broad St., Short Pump
BigWife’s Mac ‘n CheeseGrowlers To Go1017 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Scott’s Addition
Island Shrimp Co.Conch Republic11 Orleans St., Rocketts Landing
Phase 27Bistro 2727 W. Broad St., Monroe Ward
Saheb Indian BistroPescado13126 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian

Booze news

Relative to years past, 2021 was a quiet one for beer and craft beverage news, with only one new brewery opening in the area: Holy Mackerel in Prince George. The new year is looking to be busier, with at least four new breweries planned to open in 2022.

Triple Crossing Beer opened its taproom at Winterfield Crossing in December, Norfolk-based Benchtop Brewing Co. is working on its Manchester taproom, brewery/meadery/winery Three Leg Run is in the works in Chester, and work is underway on Trapezium Brewing Co.’s Church Hill location.

Coffee moves

The year in coffee saw some local shops add new spots around town.

Ironclad Coffee Roasters signed a lease in western Henrico in November for its second location, which is slated to open in early 2022. In the spring, Blanchard’s Coffee opened a new location, taking over the former Lamplighter Coffee Roasters spot on Morris Street.

Another coffee crew, Little Bean Coffee Co., announced plans for a sister ice cream shop in Mechanicsville, which opened in the summer.

And Starbucks made a noteworthy addition to the local coffee landscape in 2021 with a new takeout-only spot in the Fan that opened in September.

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Young Mother: Get on the list!

Post originally appeared on wtvr.com.

New pop-up alert – so promising he’s already taking reservations for 2022!

RICHMOND, Va. — Daniel Harthausen is not yet a household name in Richmond’s culinary scene. But that has not stopped his Korean and Japanese cuisine-inspired Young Mother pop-up restaurant to sell out for the remainder of 2021.

He is taking reservations for 2022.

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Nick Hancock
Daniel Harthausen and Young Mother

“I don’t see myself as somebody that’s a part of the Richmond chef community. I still just work and I do a pop-up once a month. People really like it and I love that,” Harthausen said. “I kind of just see myself as still an employee at Adarra, which I love.”

The 26-year-old Korea-born, Hampton Roads-raised chef said he has learned a lot from Adarra owner and chef Randall Doetzer.

“We’re fairly similar. I pick up on very blunt direction well,” he said. “I think it’s just coming from an athletic background or playing sports my whole life and then also coming up as a military kid. Being very coachable is a skill I think is really important for people. So like having someone just tell me directly when I need to do, I’ll go do it and then also learn from it.”

His time with Doetzer, plus stops at other Richmond restaurants like Yaki and Black Sheep, has given Harthausen the confidence to move forward with Young Mother.

“Primarily we’re focused on Japanese and Korean food. Kind of like this meshing of the two cultures. It’s pretty interesting on my end, being able to research how the two cultures kind of interact with food,” he said.

Click here to learn more about Young Mother pop-ups and DM the Instagram account to get on the waiting list for the next event.

You can listen Daniel Harthausen share his story on the Eat It, Virginia podcast.

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It’s GivingTuesday! Make YOUR impact on the world today and everyday!

Today is GivingTuesday, a movement created just 9 short years ago to inspire people to make a difference in the world, both big and small!  The organization says:“GIVINGTUESDAY IS A MOVEMENT THAT UNLEASHES THE POWER OF RADICAL GENEROSITY AROUND THE WORLD.

GivingTuesday reimagines a world built upon shared humanity and generosity.

Our global network collaborates year-round to inspire generosity around the world, with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life.

Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.”

So whether you do something as simple as checking on your neighbor and offering help or creating your own charitable organization, no act is too small or too big.  The world needs all of the kindness it can get right now – and that starts with us….and you.

To learn more about GivingTuesday and its impact, check out https://www.givingtuesday.org/

Paul Davis restoration
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Wine Not? New wine bar opens in Monroe Ward

Post originally appeared on RichmondBizSense.com.

In Monroe Ward, a new wine bar has picked up where a longtime diner left off.

Henley on Grace opened last week at 314 E. Grace St. It replaces The Red Door, which had occupied the space for over four decades.

Some of Henley on Grace’s staff. (Mike Platania photos)

The wine bar is the latest restaurant from William Wright, who formerly owned another neighborhood staple, Bistro 27, prior to its closing last year.

Wright leased the 1,500-square-foot Henley space  earlier this year from Red Door’s owners, who continue to own the building.

After a round of renovations, the space is now equipped with a full bar, cocktail menu and over 100 types of wine. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.

Henley’s dinner menu includes dishes like Ahi tuna with mushroom and Thai noodles, seared duck breast, and handmade pasta with seafood. Its lunch menu is heavy on salads and sandwiches like its Asian shrimp po’ boy and forager’s salad. Entrees range from about $20 to $31, and lunch options are from $10 to $15.

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday. Wright said he’s got a staff of about 12, some of whom used to work for him at Bistro 27.

Check out their offerings at https://henleyongrace.com.

Over on West Broad Street, Raysean Edwards is preparing to open a small plate-focused restaurant in Bistro 27’s old space.

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It’s Richmond Restaurant Week, Y’all!!

It’s time to show your love for your local faves! Richmond Restaurant Week is here through October 31. And this time, not only do you get to enjoy the amazing food your local places offer, you get to support the community as well. This is how it works:

How it works:

FIRST, CHOOSE YOUR RESTAURANT(S)

With over a two dozen local restaurants participating, you are sure to find a longtime favorite or brand new love to explore and taste. Each restaurants’ menu will vary depending on their current offerings. There won’t be any special meals for RRWeek, but there will still be loads of incredibly delicious fare to choose from.

SECOND, CHOOSE YOUR DINING LOCATION

Each restaurant’s locations will vary, but you may have the option to eat inside, al fresco, or opt for take out or delivery. Spruce up your weeknight meal with delivery, plan a social distanced weekend event, or grab takeout and enjoy a picnic outdoors! The options are endless.

THIRD, CHOOSE YOUR DONATION AMOUNT

Finally, when you make your order, don’t forget to add a donation to Feed More! Each participating restaurant will have $5 donations available on their online menu for the duration of RRWeek. A $5 donation provides up to 20 meals for a neighbor in need. Feeling generous? Toss a few fivers in the cart and help Feed More give even more to our community’s most vulnerable populations.

Visit https://www.rrweek.com/dine-local-2021 for more information! Bon Appetit!

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What’s a Mochinut? You’re About to Find Out, RVA!

We’ve been hearing about Mochinut all over the place lately. But what is it? And why is it so popular?

From RichmondBizSense.com:

As it aims for dozens of new locations in its first year in business, a Hawaiian-style donut chain is setting up its first local spot in a VCU-area restaurant space that’s no stranger to new concepts.

Mochinut is preparing to open on the ground floor of the Chesterfield Apartment Building at 900 W. Franklin St.

The year-old company offers donuts made with rice flour that are then adorned with glazes and other toppings. Mochinut also offers corn dogs dipped in rice flour and boba tea.

“It started in Hawaii and California,” said local franchisee Brian Yoo. “In Northern Virginia it’s also popular right now. I was thinking for the college students, it’s going to be a great idea.”

The donuts and corndogs both start around $3. Yoo said he’s hoping to have the VCU Mochinut be both a to-go and sit-down spot.

“We have tons of seating so people can come, study and use wifi,” he said.

The commercial space has seen plenty of churn in recent years, with Plant Baz Burrito Bar being the most recent tenant. (Mike Platania)

Yoo said he’s invested about $200,000 into renovating the space, which has housed over a half-dozen restaurants since 2013.

Plant Baz Burrito Bar was the most recent tenant of the space, closing in 2020 after a year-long run. Prior to that Cous Cous, Sofra Mediterranean GrillBb.q Premium ChickenShoryuken Ramen and Dash Kitchen + Carry have all occupied the space.

Yoo said he’s aiming to open Mochinut in late October or early November. He said he’s considering opening multiple stores in Richmond and would also like to get into Rockville, Maryland and Virginia Beach.

Mochinut already has begun to set up in the space on Franklin.

Despite being only a year in business, Mochinut is on an aggressive growth strategy. The company has 20 locations open, most of which are in Southern California, and is planning over 90 new locations around the country, as well as in South Korea and Thailand.

Sounds delicious! We can’t wait to try them!

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New Restaurant Alert: Birdie’s!

We love hearing about new restaurants and spreading the word! This week, we’re learning all about Birdie’s – a coffee and sandwich joint by day and an oyster bar by night – opening in Common House social club!

Article appeared on RichmondBizSense.com.

A coffee house and seafood restaurant named Birdie’s will open in November at Common House in downtown Richmond. (Courtesy of Kate Thompson/Common House)

Delayed by the pandemic, a restaurant is finally set to land in Common House.

Birdie’s, which will be both a coffee house and seafood joint that specializes in oysters, is expected to open in early November at 305 W. Broad St.

The first floor restaurant will be open to diners who aren’t members of Common House, a Charlottesville-based co-working and social club brand that opened its Richmond outpost in October 2020.

Derek Sieg

“It’s very much its own standalone enterprise and experience,” said Derek Sieg, who co-founded Common House with Ben Pfinsgraff, of Birdie’s.

During the day the space will serve coffee and sandwiches, and during the evening it will operate as an oyster bar. The space will also feature a wine cellar.

“It’s things we love that we wanted here,” Sieg said. “I love coffee, Ben loves wine and we both love oysters and seafood.”

The restaurant plans to have seating for 20 people in its 1,000-square-foot space.

While the finer details of the menu and pricing are still being hashed out, sandwiches are expected to sell for $10 to $15, while seafood entrees are expected to be priced at $15 to $25.

Birdie’s won’t roast its own coffee. Details on its coffee offerings are “forthcoming,” a spokeswoman said.

The restaurant is expected to open with a dedicated staff of 10 people.

A distinct restaurant brand has been in the cards for Common House since it settled on its Richmond location. But the pandemic delayed the restaurant’s opening.

Ben Pfinsgraff

“We wanted to open Birdie’s around the time the club opened but with COVID that wasn’t a viable path forward,” Pfinsgraff said.

Birdie’s is the first and so far only restaurant concept to be paired with a Common House location. The size and location of Common House’s Richmond location, which is 25,000 square feet, spurred conversations about ways to fill out the space.

“It felt like what the neighborhood would really benefit from,” Sieg said. “Common House as an experience is its own thing and it’s not like a small bustling packed bar with a casual experience. It was exciting to think of a new concept.”

In addition to locations in Charlottesville and Richmond, Common House opened a third location in May in Chattanooga. The Richmond location has more than 1,500 members.

Regular membership is $150 a month for an individual. Members who are under 30 or students pay a $75 monthly fee for an individual membership. An out-of-town membership (for people who live an hour or more away and expect to use the space infrequently) is $50 a month for an individual.

Also in the neighborhood, a new small-plates restaurant is taking shape in the former Bistro 27 space.

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How to Optimize Your Restaurant’s Google My Business Listing

The days of hungry people driving down the street looking for a restaurant to try are gone. Now, people turn to the internet; specifically, Google, to help them find the perfect place to eat. 

Google has become the go-to source for people discovering new restaurants. This is because an increase of 46% of Google searches are now locally focused. These searches often consist of adding terms like “near me” or “in [City Name]” onto the end of the search phrase to limit results to local businesses.

In this post, we’re going to focus on a tool every restaurant should be fully capitalizing on to successfully market their business online and increase their profitability — Google My Business.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business (GMB) is a free and easy-to-use tool that allows you to promote your business online through Google. With GMB, you create a Business Profile for your restaurant, and it helps connect you with customers on Google Search and Maps. 

Why Is It Important?

Local search SEO (search engine optimization) on Google is one of the most powerful tools to increase your restaurant’s online visibility and attract new customers. 

When people are in a hurry to find answers, they rely on the top of the search engine results that Google gives them. So, no matter how great your restaurant’s website is, you may still fail to capture curious consumers if they see outdated information in your GMB listing.

Creating and maintaining your Google My Business profile is well worth the effort since it comes with a whole host of benefits, including increasing your business’s visibility and making a more positive, powerful first impression.

The Top 8 Google My Business Features for Restaurants

Hopefully, you’ve already claimed your GMB listing and added your necessary business information. Your Business Profile should have your restaurant’s name, address, phone number, and hours. 

This is a great place to start, but there are plenty of other opportunities to enhance your GMB listing.

Let’s go over GMB features you should take advantage of. These will help increase your online exposure, search ranking, and customer base.

1. Description

The first feature that will enhance your listing is adding a business description. This section is your opportunity to tell people what makes your restaurant unique. Here are a few talking points you should consider including in your description:

  • Cuisine: First, make sure you tell customers what kind of food you serve. Does your restaurant serve a regional cuisine like Chinese or Indian? Or a fusion cuisine like Tex-Mex? Also, make sure to include a specialized cuisine like vegan or gluten-free if it applies to you. Here is where you want to let diners know what kind of food they can expect to find on your menu. Stating your cuisine plays a significant role in people’s results for ‘near me’ searches. 
  • Atmosphere: What’s the atmosphere or vibe in your restaurant? Are you a fast-casual joint, a quaint cafe, or an upscale restaurant? The atmosphere of a restaurant is just as important to many people as the food they serve. 

The maximum length is 750 characters, but it will be shortened if you write a longer description. Be sure to frontload the most crucial information, but try to keep it brief and to-the-point. 

Here’s a screenshot of what Magnolia Table’s GMB listing looks like for reference to the right. Their description showcases their garden-to-table cuisine, hip vibe and is straightforward. 

2. Reservations & Ordering

Another great way to optimize your GMB listing is using the reservation feature. The reservation feature allows you to include a booking link in your profile.

Adding a booking button to your GMB listing is an excellent way to streamline your guests’ reservation process. You want to have an online reservation system that integrates with Google, such as CAKE’s Guest Manager

Take a look below and notice that the booking times shown are from the restaurant’s reservations system through Guest Manager.

Similarly, GMB listings have also become a place where guests can order food online. Your restaurant’s online ordering system link can also be on your GMB profile. With this, GMB becomes a customer’s one-stop-shop for whatever they need to do to enjoy your restaurant’s food.

3. Menu

Did you know 93% of people look at online menus? Because of this, your restaurant needs to be using the menu feature on GMB. There are two different ways you can use this feature. 

The first method is to insert a direct link to your menu page on your website, as Magnolia Table does above. 

Another method is adding a menu button that will list out your food and drink items. The menu editor lets you add, edit names, descriptions, and prices. It even enables you to break up your menus by categories, such as cocktails, appetizers, and entrees. 

In this area, customers can also add menu photos that will appear above the listed menu. We will show an example in the next section!

4. Photos and Videos

If you want to get people’s attention, you should add some visual interest to your listing in the form of photos and videos.

These visuals don’t have to be of the food itself, though pictures of your most visually appealing dishes are certainly a great thing to feature. People also like seeing pictures of your restaurant’s exterior and interior so they can get an idea of what the seating and atmosphere are.

When you add pictures or videos to your GMB listing, Google will ask you to categorize the photo. For example, you could identify a picture of your restaurant’s front as an exterior photo of the business. 

Here are Magnolia’s featured menu photos on top of their listed menu. As you can see, a lot of these features complement each other and work together to showcase your restaurant’s best offerings. 

This allows people to click on categories of images and videos. It is helpful when there are many visuals associated with your restaurant listing, and they’re looking for something in particular.

Anyone can add pictures and videos of your business online, which will show up in your Google My Business listing. But don’t worry — you can control the visuals people see first when they Google your restaurant. You can also flag a photo for removal if it was actually taken at a different restaurant or is somehow inappropriate.

5. Posts

An underutilized feature of Google My Business that you don’t want to miss out on is Google posts. This feature allows you to create and share announcements. 

Think of these posts as social media status updates. Google Posts can include text, images, and even call-to-action buttons. 

Not sure what to post about on GMB? Here are some ideas:

  • Events: You can post about upcoming events like virtual cooking classes or live music. 
  • General updates: Update your customers on the latest COVID restrictions and safety precautions. Open for dine-in or only take-out? Whatever the update, let customers know.
  • Promotions: Let people know about any special promotions or discounts you have going on in Google Posts. Feature your seasonal menu items and limited-time offers.

6. Q&A Section

The Q&A section on your Google My Business listing is where any user can post a question about your restaurant. With this feature, anyone can also post answers in response. So, it would be best if you closely watched this section to provide fast and accurate responses. You can do this most effectively through the GMB app.

Q&A’s will stay on your listing, so you want to provide thorough answers that future users will find helpful. Also, it’s important to pay attention to the questions people ask. It can give you insight into details you may want to add to your website or social media profiles. For example, if you’re an ice cream parlor and someone asks whether you offer any dairy-free options, you may want to identify dairy-free items on your online menu.

7. Reviews

GMB lets customers review your business through your listing and enables you to respond to them. It is imperative to respond to both good and bad reviews as much as you can. 

Why is this important? 93% of consumers say online reviews influence their purchase decisions. 

Reviews help build your credibility, and customers tend to prefer businesses that engage with them.

8. Insights

Last but certainly not least, is the insights feature. Once you have your listing created, you’ll get a dashboard with invaluable data on your customer’s activity.  

Suppose you’re curious about how many people are booking tables through GMB. In that case, you can look at your booking history through your scheduling provider, which should let you know what percentage of reservations were made directly through your GMB listing.

Google Insights gives you several different ways to understand how customers interact with your listing. Here’s a list from Google:

GMB provides answers to all these actions and requests. This insight can help you see what strategies are working and which need some attention. 

Google My Business Updates for COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to deal with shutdowns, limited opening, and operations have changed indefinitely. Luckily, with GMB, you can communicate these changes with your customers ahead of time. 

The newest addition to GMB is the healthy & safety attribute in your listing. In this section, businesses can let their customers know about the safety measures they are enforcing, such as: 

  • Masks required for customers or staff
  • Temperature checks required for customers or staff
  • Appointments or reservations required

Another update within your listing you can use is the COVID-19 Post. With so many changes due to lockdowns, this post type will let you update your customers, and Google labels it as “COVID-19 related information.”

If you have a temporarily closed restaurant location, you should make this update in GMB as well. 

Takeaway

Adding the necessary information like your address and hours to GMB is only scratching the surface of what it can do to help you market your restaurant effectively and pull in new customers. 

Utilize GMB to its fullest potential by adding the features above to your Business Profile. Hungry diners will have all the information they need to go straight from their phone to your restaurant.