Olo Deal Helps Restaurants Access Traffic From Google’s Platforms

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This post is the latest in our “Vertical Challenge” series. It’s our editorial focus for the month of October, including topics like vertical-specific strategies and the pros and cons of zeroing in on local business categories. See the rest of the series here

Ninety percent of consumers research restaurants online before dining—more than any other business type—and the vast majority of those web searches start on Google. The search giant plays an important role in the success of restaurant marketing online, making it a desirable partner for any digital platform serving the restaurant industry.

Partnering with Google often means increased search traffic and a strengthened position within the restaurant vertical, which helps to explain the enthusiasm coming from Olo’s recent announcement that it will be working with Google to allow its restaurant partners to receive orders directly from Google Search, Maps, and Google Assistant.

“Local search is the dominant discovery platform for consumers and offers brands reach to new customers on the largest search engine in the world,” says Olo Founder and CEO Noah Glass. “Having strong visibility on Google is more important than ever … [Restaurants] must win searches for their brand before customers go elsewhere.”

Google has been ambitious in its movement into the restaurant vertical this year. It’s been five months since the company announced that it would be making food ordering available in search, Maps, and via Google Assistant. Google added an “Order Online” button that appears when consumer search for supported restaurants in Search and Maps. Customers have the option to choose which service to order their food through. In the five months since the feature’s debut, food ordering through the Maps product has seen particularly impressive growth.

Glass says the agreement between Google and Olo is a natural fit for Olo, as one of the leading digital food ordering platforms. It also means that Google will now have access to hundreds of additional restaurant brands, helping to drive order volume in the uber-competitive third-party food ordering landscape.

“Google has been investing heavily in the space, and naturally restaurants want to take friction out of the path to purchase by increasing their search visibility,” Glass says.

Restaurants are among the most searched categories on Google. According to Olo’s research, restaurant brands are outranked by an average of four competitors in delivery searches for the top 300 brands, showing that there’s plenty of room for improvement and growth in the space.

As part of the agreement between Google and Olo, restaurant brands will stream Google orders directly through their brands’ own ordering channels, which means they will maintain access to their own data.

Data has become a critical currency in the food ordering landscape.

Olo’s restaurant clients have the option to opt-in to the new integration with Google. Glass explains that by doing so, restaurant brands can stream Google orders directly through their ordering channels and bypass third-party commission costs.

As one of the most well-known ordering platforms serving the restaurant industry, with both third-party and white-label offerings, Olo already has a number of technology partners. UberEats, Postmates, DoorDash, Waitr, and Caviar plug their order stream into Olo in order to broaden their reach and simplify the process for restaurants.

In addition to connecting Olo to Google Search and Maps, the deal also connects Olo to Google Assistant, allowing consumers on Android and iOS phones to use their voice to order food from specific restaurants. Users can ask Google’s voice assistant to repeat previous orders if they don’t want to choose what to order from a menu.

“As brands expand their online ordering and delivery capabilities in response to the on-demand world, we can expect to see all digital orders continue to rise, and voice ordering will be no exception,” Glass says. “It’s all about consumer convenience. We expect devices to become smarter and deliver more customized and personal messaging, which will inevitably raise the profile of voice assistants.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.
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