“Hey Siri, give me directions to Toast Bar and Grill,” you say to your iPhone.
“OK - I see a few places that serve Toast near you,” he says (I have my Siri set to a guy’s voice).
“NO! I wanted Toast Bar and Grill!” You scream, suddenly at the mercy of Siri’s ability to know anything about you or your locale.
This conversation between Siri and I has happened thousands of times when the mood to visit my favorite restaurant or brewery strikes but Siri is unable to find information about that spot.
To change the way Siri finds your establishment, it helps to have a basic understanding of how Siri pulls information when it comes to search results.
At a high level, we’ll cover how the system works and how you can better position yourself to be found when people are looking for you.
P.S.: Did you like my map pun in the title?
Apple Maps: The Basics
Apple Maps was introduced in iOS 6, back in 2012. Though it was initially a rocky start, Apple doubled down on its mapping ability and features, making Maps part of the core offering on iOS devices. While the Apple Maps app is removable in iOS 10, the maps function remains the backbone of Apple’s personal assistant.
Apple devices use a number of databases when serving up information from a Siri request. The most prominent of these in the bar and restaurant world are Apple Maps and Yelp, both of which work symbiotically on iOS devices to give you location data and information about hot spots.
If information about your business is missing or incomplete from either of these services, it not only hinders your chances of being found in Siri, but it also reduces the likelihood that you’ll come up in quick searches on iOS’s home screen or within Apple Maps.
Great— so we know how Siri is pulling your business’s information; how do you ensure its accuracy?
Apple spent millions of dollars and used hundreds of thousands of employee productivity hours to add locations to Maps, and still it fell short.
Apple recognized that the best way to source data about restaurants was from Apple Maps users and business owners themselves; not only to pin-point locations, but to ensure data accuracy. Many business owners aren’t aware that they can actually change the data inside Apple Maps to more accurately portray their establishment’s location, hours, searchable categories and offerings, all through a simple visit to.
How To Use Apple Maps For Your Restaurant
To make changes to your Apple Maps listing, simply visit the website above and log in with your AppleID (this is typically what you use to purchase things from the App Store or iTunes). From there, you’ll be directed to acknowledge Apple’s Terms and Conditions, and then you’ll be inside the editor.
Here are the steps to making the right changes.
- Do a quick search for your business. If it pops up, click on it and you’ll be able to edit the data that Apple has already compiled about your business. If it doesn’t pop up, simply click “add my business.”
- Fill out the fields on the first page, paying special attention to the “categories” fields, as they’ll influence search results. Be sure to double check the telephone number for your business, as Apple will verify this telephone number with a quick call. Since there’s a level of verification, it’s recommended that you do this from your business’s actual location.
- Verify your phone number through Apple’s automated system, then enter your location on the next page. After you’ve entered the physical address for your business, you’ll also be able to drop the pin on the exact spot that you’d like your business to show in Apple Maps.
- Next, you’ll enter in your establishment’s operating hours to ensure they’re accurate when someone locates your business.
- After your hours are input, you can link up your business’s website and social media accounts, so they’re accessible from within Apple Maps on iOS devices and Mac computers. This is a great opportunity for you to cross-market your business and have people see exactly what you want them to!
- Once you’ve entered in this information, a final screen will ensure your addition is complete before you can submit it to Apple. If any problems are caught by the system, address them, then submit your restaurant, or any changes you made.
Apple advertises on their Help site that changes take up to a week to appear in-app, potentially taking longer if additional verification is required. You can check out more information and help articles.
One More Thing
You may notice that some businesses have reviews and pictures of their businesses that appear in Apple Maps when you ask Siri to find them for you. This data is aggregated from Yelp, so it’s important that your profile is up-to-date there as well. Information on updating your Yelp profile can be found here.
While making sure your customers can find you, we also recommend having a strategy to reach out to your customers. Having a restaurant management system that gives you insights into who is visiting your location, what they love to eat and drink, and when they visit most often is important to being able to actively market your space to help even more folks seek you out!