Today 8 Americans out of 10 are choosing or checking restaurants online. You need to be listed in all the relevant platforms to attract new customers.

Restaurants need to have a strong online visibility to get new customers. Below are the top 14 platforms where you should be listed to increase your sales:

1. Google: the importance of local SEO

On average, 9 billion Internet searches are made on Google each day. Whenever someone searches for a restaurant online, Google will suggest the most relevant results based on their search criteria and location. The first page of results will include 3 local businesses on a map and a series of links deemed relevant by Google - generally the first links come from TripAdvisor, Yelp or media articles.

The most effective way to attract customers in your establishment? Get a spot in the top 3 displayed on Google Maps. To achieve this, you must first create a Google My Business profile if it does not exist and regularly update it with quality content, by sharing publications, adding photos, responding to comments.  The optimizations we made for Bask, a tapas restaurant in San Francisco, allowed the restaurant to get 57,000 views and get in the top 3 Google search results for its most strategic queries.

Creating and optimizing your listing on Bing and Yahoo is also useful - even if they are much less used than Google (respectively 3.4% and 1.8% of requests). Appearing in the first results in their Google My Business equivalents (Bing Places and Yahoo Local) reinforces your visibility as well.

2. TripAdvisor: the n°1 travel site

The platform registered 315 million unique visitors per month in 2015 and 200 million reviews. Available as a mobile app or website, TripAdvisor allows you to specify your search with criteria: neighborhood, type of food, price range, specific diet etc. The application uses geolocation to suggest nearby establishments to users.

The more complete a listing is (pictures, descriptions, attributes, number of important notices, comments with answers etc.), the more the TripAdvisor algorithm will push the establishment among the first research results. In the U.S., nearly 90,000 food establishments are already listed. Another reason it is useful to be visible on TripAdvisor is because the pages of the website are well referenced on search engines. For example, if you have an Indian restaurant in New York, when someone searches for an Indian restaurant, under the top 3 Google results, links to TripAdvisor and Yelp pages featuring "The Best Indian Restaurants in New York City" will appear. Appearing at the top of these specific rankings will inevitably attract new customers.

The most effective solution is to appear even higher among the first 3 results suggested by Google. The Maharajah in Paris, France, with whom we work, ranks today in the 1st position for the request "Indian restaurant" in Paris, which is a great way to attract new customers directly.

3. Yelp: The leading service industry social network in the U.S.

With geolocation, Yelp can suggest shops, restaurants, cafes and bars nearby. The search criteria are similar to those of TripAdvisor and The Fork; nevertheless Yelp also looks like a social network. It is indeed possible to "check in" in establishments as one would on Facebook and "follow" friends or users to discover their favorite establishments or those they advise against.

4. Bing: Places for Business

Being one of the top search engines, every month over 150 million users search for local businesses and services on Bing, and many of these people are looking for great places to eat. If people aren’t searching on Google, chances are they’re searching for your restaurant on Bing.

5. Allmenus: The menu listing platform

People need to look at the restaurant menu before they decide to dine in or to order. Every month, over 550,000 people visit Allmenus to make their choice. It is one of the most comprehensive restaurant and food delivery guide with over 255,000 menus. This menu-oriented directory includes listings for hundreds of thousands of restaurants, and it is searched by millions of people each month. Plus, your Allmenus listing will also appear on other top search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

6. CitySquares: The partner for local businesses

Founded 13 years ago, CitySquares champions itself as a partner for local, independently owned businesses, including restaurants. With over 700,000 visitors, CitySquares is one of the most influential website to list your restaurant. It also markets itself as an outlet to help businesses gain exposure across the web. Think of this directory as very “hyper-local”. It is an ideal listing spot for eateries looking to draw drop-in traffic.

7. Foursquare: The social media app to choose a restaurant

With over 50 million active user per month, not only is Foursquare a popular directory for restaurants, it is a popular social networking website, too, easily connecting to your Twitter handle. Guests can check in and comment on your restaurant, and this level of interaction makes them feel like they’re already at the table. Over 1.9 million businesses have already registered their locations to connect with customers.

8. Eater: The trendiest guide to find a restaurant

With over 10 million visitors per month on their website, Eater has gain trust from the American audience. With a quirky tone, sense of humor and great pictures, Eater presents the best tables that have not ticked all the criteria to appear on the Michelin Guide but are nevertheless excellent!

Eater is particularly active on Instagram with over one million subscribers and an audience that grows by at least 2% to 3% each month. For Food influencers, using the hashtag #Eater has become a reflex and seeing your publication "regrammed" by Eater is a real sign of recognition!

9. TimeOut: The trendy urban guide that also features restaurants

TimeOut presents the best addresses for a night out (restaurants, bars, exhibitions, shows etc.) in big cities like New York or Los Angeles, London, Paris or Madrid. The content is not exclusively related to food, but a rich section is dedicated to restaurants, tea rooms, pastry shops and bars—an opportunity for restaurants to gain visibility with a similar target audience as the Eater. The media outlet is particularly active on Facebook where it has gathered almost 1 million subscribers for the New York page.

10. OpenTable: The booking platform dedicated to restaurants

It is one the world's leading online restaurant booking platforms, seating more than 24 million diners per month via online reservations across more than 43,000 restaurants. The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized booking services to keep guests coming back.

Every month, OpenTable diners write 450,000 restaurant reviews. What are they saying about your business? Join the conversation by creating your OpenTable page. The directory listing is worth it for the OpenTable app alone.

11. Yahoo: Local Listing

Much less used that Google, Yahoo still owns 12,7% of the U.S. desktop search market and 7,1% of the U.S. mobile organic search market. With news, reviews, ratings, directions and interactive maps, the multi-faceted Yahoo! helps over 150 million people find local restaurants and eateries. Use Yahoo! to share information about your business and reach new targets.

12. Zomato: The discovery service

Formerly Urbanspoon, Zomato provides you with in-depth information on go-to places around you. It allows you to respond to guest reviews, add photos to your page and update key information about your establishment. Fail to claim your Zomato page and you won’t be able to do any of this. Don’t miss out; claim your page today.

13. Airbnb: The travel booking platform getting interested in restaurants

Airbnb customers in 16 U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Charleston, Austin, Seattle, and New Orleans are now able to book restaurants through the lodging-reservations service. The short-term vacation rental company announced a few months ago that it has officially partnered with the restaurant booking system Resy. Reservations can be for tables, prime seating, and prix-fixe dinners, and Airbnb noted that in the future it will consider offering exclusive tables for Airbnb users, as well as social dining experiences where guests can share a meal and meet other Airbnb travelers.

In 2017, Airbnb registered on their U.S. website over 44 millions users, and is projected to have over 86 millions of users by 2021. In the face of such an audience, it is more than worth it to have your restaurant listed on Airbnb. Even though most people still use the platform for short-term vacation rental, the restaurant booking platform is a way to attract more eyes on your business, and will probably grow in the next few years.

14. Mapquest: The mapping service

With over 35 millions of users every month, Mapquest is one of the largest online map services and can help bring local customers right to your restaurant. Trusted by drivers, this listing is great for businesses seeking to attract any type of customers in the direct area. To be seen in this driving app is a must for your establishment.

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Flavien Brion

Malou - Food Influencer Marketing

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