New Google Updates: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

It seems like every other week a search site or a mobile app makes a new update. On top of everything else a small business owner has on their plate, it is nearly impossible to keep up with all of the changes. Fear not, we’re here to help you understand the most recent Google and Google Maps listing changes and what it means for your business.

The Changes:

1. Google has shortened the initial search results from multiple listings to three listings (referred to as the “three-pack”).

2. Google ads can now appear within the local three-pack search results and multiple ads can appear in the search results. 

3. Google maps will only feature ads that have map extensions, an addition of a call to action button that helps business owners get more customers in the door. For example adding a “click to call” button onto your Google listing is a map extension.

4. Text ads will no longer be displayed on Google Maps.

The Effects:

According to Link-Assistant, it is still too soon to gage what these changes will mean for small business owners. The good news is that these changes are not as significant as the particular users IP address and what businesses Google thinks is relevant to their search. So as long as searchers are still close by and your online presence is strong, your business should still be easily found.

Be sure to review any Google ads you may be running to make sure you are still seeing a good ROI and accomplishing your intended goals. Check what type of ads you are running as text ads will no longer appear in Google Maps so if that is a concern for you, you may want to choose a different kind of ad. Learn more marketing tips and trends for your small business by following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Want to learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your business stand out everywhere that matters online, request a demo.

8 Reasons Your Restaurant Needs to Take Advantage of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is right around the corner; it’s time to start planning for it. Occurring every year on the second Sunday of May, Mother’s Day was established in the United States in 1908 and is now celebrated through out the country as a federal holiday. Mother’s Day has become an important day not just for families but also for restaurants that can capitalize on these celebrations. Here are eight reasons why your restaurant should be prepping for Mother’s Day this year:

1. Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out, with nearly 50% of Americans spending at a restaurant on Mother’s Day.

2. 49% of Mother’s Day restaurant diners will choose to have dinner out, 33% for lunch, 24% for brunch, and 8% for breakfast.
3. Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year for brunch reservations.
4. Compared to a typical Sunday, Mother’s Day reservations increase by 3X.

5. Mother’s Day boasts more group dining reservations than any other day of the year.
6. 73% of diners will make reservations at a restaurant they’ve never tried.
7. 75% of diners will book reservations within the week before Mother’s Day.
8. 62% of diners will choose a casual dining restaurant on Mother’s day, 25% will choose fine dining, 15 % will choose a buffet, 8% will choose fast-casual, and 2% will choose quick service.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate moms as well as increase your restaurants’ revenue. Make sure that you’ve prepped for the day well. Have you updated your menus? Try offering a festive special or an all-inclusive Mother’s Day brunch package. Some restaurants may consider a moms-eat-free promotion. No matter what you’re doing, make sure to tell your customers about it now while they are picking which new restaurant to try this year.

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4 Ways for Restaurants to Go Green for Earth Day

Earth Day was last week and SinglePlatform wanted to help out those business owners who are environmentally conscious and looking to improve their carbon footprint. Celebrated initially in 1974, Earth Day is especially relevant this year as the environment is a pressing issue in the 2016 presidential election.  Here are four ways restaurant owners can go green—not only to feel better about their impact on the environment but to save a bit of money as well!

1. Switch to Higher Efficiency Lighting

The Environmental Working Group recommends switching from incandescent lightbulbs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) reduces greenhouse emissions and mercury discharges as well being cost efficient. On average, CFLs last four times as long as standard light bulbs. Although CFLs are slightly more expensive, over the long term you will save money and you’ll have to change your light bulbs less frequently.

2. Reduce Food Waste Anyway You Can

According to Restaurant.com, the restaurant industry produces up to 33 million tons of food waste in the United States alone.  Not only does that clog our landfills but it also hurts your bottom line.  Offer chefs specials each day of the week that incorporate ingredients that you have in oversupply. This will inspire your chefs to be creative and can add variety to your menu. If you still have a surplus, donate trays of food to a local nonprofit or soup kitchen.

3. Source Locally

American consumers are being drawn more and more to sustainable food, with the National Restaurant Association claiming sustainability as its number one trend for 2016.  Aside from increased customer awareness, purchasing produce and meats from local farmers cuts transportation and usage of fossil fuels. While most locally sourced and organic ingredients are not less expensive, many consumers are now willing to pay more for locally sourced foods. This increase in price can cover your increased overhead and may go as far as boosting your bottom line.

4. Get Creative with Recycling

Restaurants deal with large amounts of wastefigure out ways to cut back. Reuse paper products when you can. An old box can become a sign for specials with a little DIY and save you a little bit of money. Try reusing wine bottles as flower holders or wall decoration. Make a cork board out of reused corks.

Going green is something that will not only save you money over the long term but is essential for our environment. With these four tips you’re well on your way to reduce you carbon footprint as well as your overall budget.  Want to learn more tips and tricks for your small business? Check out SinglePlatform on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

How Millennials Find Restaurants

Every Friday, my group of friends and I go out for dinner. We recently deemed this get-together “Italian Food Friday”. Working in Manhattan and living in Brooklyn, we have endless restaurant options. Sometimes, we choose a place based of a word-of-mouth recommendation, but more frequently, we fall into the 17.7% of consumers who search “Italian restaurant near me” and depend on the result of our favorite search engine. When this millennial needs to pick a restaurant, this is how I do it:

Step 1: Search Engines

When I start my search for a restaurant, my first step is a search engine. When the results come in, I focus on the websites closest to the top of my screen.  I will typically hone in on the first three results. The more information available on these listings, the more likely the restaurant is to be on my short-list of dining options. I want to see the location, the hours, and the menu.

Step 2: Review Sites

My group, like many in today’s market, has many eating restrictions based on both dietary restrictions and picky eaters, so further investigation must be done. Reviews sites, my favorites being Yelp and TripAdvisor, are a great resource to get a feel for other people’s experiences. Does the food look good in the pictures? Are their many complaints of poor service? What’s on their menu? These are the questions I ask myself as I peruse these sites.  A few restaurants will be be eliminated from the running during this step.

Step 3: The Restaurant’s Website

If the review sites were positive, I will go to the restaurant’s website. I use my smartphone for this step so I can easily text a screenshot of the menu to my friends. If a restaurant’s mobile site isn’t optimized for my smartphone, I won’t suggest the restaurant to my friends, opting for competitors who have invested in mobile-optimization.

Step 4: The Decision

Before making a decision, 89% of consumers research a restaurant, and my friends and I are no exception. Last week, before choosing a restaurant, four out of the six of us had looked up the restaurant’s menu before casting our vote for where to dine. Now, more than ever, it is important for local businesses to focus on their online presence to attract potential customers, or they might loose out on a group of Italian food enthusiasts on a Friday night adventure.

8 Reasons Mobile Matters for Local Businesses

In our on-the-go, digital-obsessed world, mobile is more important than ever before. If your small business doesn’t have a mobile-optimized site, than you’re customers might not be able to find you on all their devices. Not convinced? Check out these eight reasons why mobile matters for your local business.

Your business needs mobile and SinglePlatform can help with that. Mobile optimization is available to all of our customers at no additional fee. Contact us to learn more. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more insights about your business. 

Posted in Web

The Future of Food Delivery: How Can Your Restaurant Compete?

There is no denying the popularity of meal delivery, especially in New York City. Over $1 billion was invested in the food and grocery delivery sector in 2014 and Grubhub alone had earnings that were 51% higher at the end of Q1 in 2015 than their revenue at this same time in 2014. With such great success, it’s no surprise that more companies are joining the food delivery fray. These companies are capitalizing on a demand for artisan, gourmet meals and therefore are able to charge a greater fee to both customer and restaurant. The question remains, how does this affect brick and mortar restaurants? While these companies provide visibility and expanded reach to their partnered restaurants, their commission fees tamper these benefits.

1. Postmates

Since 2011, Postmates has cornered the market on artisan foods from places that normally don’t offer delivery. Through their Merchant program, Postmates partners with restaurants and takes a 10-20% cut on food sales while reducing delivery fees. As a business owner, if you decide the commission is too high and the increase in demand doesn’t offset these additional costs, you’re not necessarily out of the woods. There is the potential for exploitation, as Postmates is one of many companies that has taken advantage of restaurants by listing them on their websites without explicit permission.

2. UberEATS

Uber’s not just for transportation anymore: the company recently launched their in-app food delivery service that prides itself on a rapid delivery time. Its limited menu, curated daily form within the company, rotates regularly through partnering local restaurants. The major downside of this service for restaurant owners, however, is the hefty service fee: 30% of the food check. Sure, your business could benefit from reaching a new audience and being associated with a household name like Uber, but it is important to consider other, cheaper options before turning to this extreme. The major benefit of Uber: delivery drivers are included in the service, which can save your business time and operational frustrations.

3. Caviar

Since being acquired by Sqaure in 2014, Caviar is differentiating itself from the gourmet food delivery pack by focusing more on the restaurant than any other similar platform. Though they charge a 20% commission, the company takes extra care to market the restaurant on their app. For example, once a restaurant partnership is established, Caviar sends in a professional photographer to photograph each menu item to go onto their app. From there, the restaurant maintains a high level of control over their pricing and menu. If your restaurant can afford the fees, Caviar also offers access to a customer base that is willing to spend more for their food.

These gourmet food delivery services offer an opportunity for your restaurant to expand its customer base, increase visibility, and drive revenue. They also, however, have higher costs attached to their partnerships. The access they grant to a loyal clientele willing to spend more for their food may outweigh these costs once you consider the factors important to the future of a business: loyal customers and profits. With this in mind, consider making room in the budget to use delivery services. These services are not just a tool for bringing your product to the customer, but reflect the impact that technology is having on the restaurant industry in an age when online food ordering is becoming the norm.

SinglePlatform on Instagram

Our Instagram followers have probably noticed that we’ve upped our game recently. Following a major rebranding in February, we’ve overhauled our social media to match. SinglePlatform’s goal is to help local businesses, and now our social media will be doing just that. We’re bringing local business owners new content that they want to see with three new and informative hashtags.

#SPinsights

This hashtag will be used on posts that provide local business owners information that will help them successfully run and grow their businesses. You can expect marketing tips, key stats, industry trends and much more. Consider this the hashtag to use if you want to be kept up-to-date in local business best practices for marketing and growth.

#SPstories

#SPstories will be the place for you to learn more about how SinglePlatform has helped businesses like yours save time, stay informed, and stand out everywhere it matters online. These are the business owners who have invested in their business by using SinglePlatform and we are giving them a place to tell you their story about how we’ve helped their business and simplified their lives.

#SPfeature

We here at SinglePlatform are blown away by how savvy local business owners market their business and use their social media channels. #SPfeature will be the place where we highlight companies who are doing it right. If you want to be featured on our social media accounts, engage with us—comment, like, follow—and you might be picked by our team as an #SPfeature. 

Follow SinglePlatform on Instagram to see these hashtags in action. Prefer a different social media platform? You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Want to see for yourself how SinglePlatform can help your online presence? Request a demo today.

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