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google ads for restaurants

Google Ads for Restaurants: How To Setup An Effective Campaign

The Google Ads platform is one of the most effective ways for restaurants to promote their businesses and services. However, it requires that you setup the campaigns and features in the most targeted way with informed insights on what people are looking for from a local restaurant as they search.

Google Ads allows you to target people at the specific moment they are looking for a place to eat or to buy a takeaway. It has the tools to help you find the searches that people are using to find a restaurant in your locations and helps you to understand how to target them and what to spend.

To get started, you will first need an account. And if you don’t have one yet, please go to to create one and provide your contact details. Next, follow the instructions I’ve provided below to create your Google Ads campaign for restaurants.


Campaign objective

Setting a campaign objective means you can focus on getting leads and other conversions by encouraging customers to take action. The “Leads” campaign in Google Ads is the best for restaurants because it focuses on getting them to make contact, place an order or book a table at your restaurant.

Campaign Goals

There is also the option to run a campaign without an objective, but that means you will have to make campaign feature selections with little help from the Google Ads system.


Campaign type

Google Ads has many campaign types that restaurants can use to promote their businesses. This includes Search, Local, Display, Remarketing and other campaign types. And if your restaurant has an app you can setup an App campaign to promote your Android and iOS app.

However, a Search campaign is usually the best campaign type to setup for targeting people with text ads as they search on Google.

Campaign Type



Budget setting in Google Ads is one of the tough things restaurants have to decide on. Your budget determines how many clicks, enquiries and calls you get to your restaurant. So, it should be sufficient enough to achieve your objectives.

Google Ads Budget

A good budget to start with is at least $700 or £500 for the first month and then increase it each month as performance improves.



Google Ads has automated and manual bidding strategies that restaurants can use to meet their objectives in the search results. For example, where you appear in the results is largely determined by your bid and setting the right bids is important.

Google Ads Bid Strategies

You can do that manually with the Manual CPC bid strategy, but that takes up a lot of your time and is inefficient, especially at the beginning. You can switch to this later when you have more data and insights into your bids and positions.

It would be best however to start with an automated bid strategy like Maximise Clicks which sets bids automatically at auction time. This strategy gets you as much traffic as possible for your budget.



Location targeting in Google Ads is one of the most important features for restaurants. Targeting people where they are determines factors like what you include in your ad text, how much you pay per click on average and so on.

One option is to also have another campaign targeting people in locations further away but are looking for restaurants in your location. In this case you would need to use location-specific keywords. So, if your restaurant is in Bristol for example, keywords like “Bristol restaurants” could be a targeting option for you.



Start with keyword research to find the best keywords to bid on. The Keyword Planner tool in your account is a good tool to use to find keywords that your customers are using to search. And you can find it in your account under the Tools & Settings section.

Keyword Planner Tool

Also, as a restaurant, you should think carefully about the actual search queries that your campaign will get. So, you should use match types like phrase and exact match to control the searches.

And this is an example of a keyword in these two match types and you can do the same for all the keywords that you find in the tool.

“restaurants near me” – phrase match keyword
[restaurants near me] – Exact match keyword


Text ads

Use good copywriting skills to write great ads that will attract the right people. So, the ads should highlight how your restaurant is different from the many others out there and what customers are actually looking for.

Including offers and discounts is a good thing too and you can add these directly in the headlines or descriptions of your ads. Or you can use ad extensions like promotion extensions to promote any offers that you have.


Ad schedule

The best times to advertise in Google Ads for restaurants is when people are searching and looking for a local restaurant. That includes when people are on their mobile phones on the go and are looking for a place to eat.

The Ad schedule feature allows you to change the days and hours when you would like to promote your restaurant.

Ad Schedule

The default setting is to advertise on all days and hours and you can change the controls to whatever is relevant for your restaurant like every day 5pm to 10pm for example.


Where your ads appear

There are a number of ways you can promote your restaurant including Organic search, Google Maps and others. However, with a Google Ads Search campaign you can promote your restaurant in the ad results above the Organic results and Map listings and gain more exposure.

Your ads can also appear on search partner websites if you opt into that option. The Search Network includes hundreds of Google search partner sites that show text ads to people that are searching.

Google Networks

You can also select the Display Network if you want to appear there when you have budget still left over from the Search network.


Get in Touch

Want to know how a Google Ads campaign for restaurants can help your restaurant achieve its customer goal targets? Use the form below to contact me to discuss.

    I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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