By Frank Hamilton, Contributor
A lot of businesses, including restaurants, underestimate Google Trends and its opportunities. Google Trends is free service, that can lift your food establishment from the abyss of the Internet, assist you in improving your business, help your successful restaurant stay up to date, and keep up with all the latest trends (food and otherwise).
All you need to do to achieve all these goals is a few minutes of research.
Determine Seasonal Trends at the Right Time
It is most likely that you understand that the search system of some keywords is influenced by seasonality. Let’s take a subject that is related to the restaurant business and follow how the demand for it changes throughout the year — Chinese food.
Right away we can see that the interest in Chinese food has risen over the past five years. And yet we can also make a conclusion that people are mostly appealed to this national cuisine in winter, which is logical as Chinese food has a warming effect on the body.
For example, mutton, stew, rice balls or dumplings: they attract a lot of people in winter. The number of requests tracked by Google is at its peak between December 22-28th, right around Christmas.
Another valuable piece of information that we can extract from that screenshot is regionality. New Jersey, Delaware, and New York are states that are most interested in Chinese food. Why is this? New Jersey and New York are situated in the northern part of the USA, with a cooler climate, which makes people feel a desire to warm themselves up with some heart-fluttering and nourishing food.
By watching the example of Mexican food, we can see that it is most popular in spring, particularly in the middle of April and the winner. The greatest number of Mexican food lovers live in Arizona, followed by California and Nevada.
Find Your Restaurant’s Perfect Niche
There are such things that are “dead” forever, things that come and go in waves, and things that are stably constant. So, it is important to find your restaurant’s niche. It’s safer to stick with a theme that has proven to be stable over the decades, but it also can be lucrative to ride the waves of food trends as they come and go — like cake pops or cronuts.
You have to find your comfortable place that can provide you with a stable revenue stream.
Let’s take doughnuts. They are a classic of American pastries. It is more reliable to choose something “eternal” – like doughnuts – then to try start your own crazy trend. However, that doesn’t mean your kitchen staff can’t get creative. You can still put your own spin on “eternal foods” like doughnuts as a way of tapping into the stability of the food with the uniqueness of your brand. This can be done for, more or less, any food item that’s a stable seller.
But that is certainly not the end. Never forget about the Google Trends tool called “regionality.” With it, you can furnish your ideas on the target audience based on your restaurant’s country, region, and city.
There are 328 million people living in the USA. All of them have different lives, interests, and living conditions, traditions. Obviously, the diners in Michigan is different from the audience in Oklahoma. And obviously, these diners have a different opinion about Indian cuisine.
So, let’s break down the case of Indian cuisine in these two states. Both of them experienced a rise in popularity of this food in 2004. From then on, it has been gradually losing its popularity in both states. However, while Oklahoma seems to completely forgotten about the cuisine, we can see a profitable rise in the graph in Michigan. Tracing the graph further we can also assume that the demand for Indian food in Michigan is rising again and is staying on a quiet sable level.
What does it all mean? Right now, the search volume for “Indian food” in Michigan is on the rise. Thus, if you have a childhood dream of opening an Indian restaurant with flavorful curry, then you should rather do it in Michigan than Oklahoma. Since there is some interest you can capitalize on it due to Facebook and Google Ads.
You can take these same cuisine trend ideas for gather ideas of new dishes to implement into your restaurant. You don’t have to run a full-fledged Indian restaurant to bring in the cuisine, flavors, and dishes into your menu as specials, for instance.
Monitor the Health of Your Brand
Being a small business, it is hard to measure brand awareness. You could judge the success of your restaurant by the number of Facebook or Instagram followers, but is it really the index you should trust? Due to Google Trends, you can discover all available data about the success of your restaurant and also have a glance at your competitors’ business, too.
With Google Trends, you can use the function of comparing two search results and see which restaurant name is searched for more. You can see the volume, location, and seasonal popularity to make your own inferences. Even if your establishment is lower on the rate than some of your competitors, there is no place for disappointment as far as you can explore the popular food places, analyze their attitude and strategy, and maybe even incorporate something to your own case.
To understand how diners feel about your restaurant, type the name of your place in the search line, and see what relevant search queries populate below. If you see terms in the flavor of “best curry” or “buckwheat ice-cream” then you and your restaurant caught the eye of the customers with something from the menu and they are wondering about other people’s opinions on it.
By the way, keep in mind that recently people begin to use long-tailed queries in Google to find something as specific as possible. Long-tailed requests are becoming a Google keywords trend, and are often used when searching by voice, too. So, you may come up with such three or more words search requests related to your restaurant business and check them in Google Trends.
Google Trends for restaurant marketers is an irreplaceable piece of equipment on the way to success which is full of ups and downs. However, it helps to search for new and relevant trends, determine how healthy your restaurant brand’s reputation is, and even give you some suggestions for seasonal offers to impress the clients.
About the Author:
Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education. He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.