How to Use Google Analytics for Your Restaurant

Google Analytics is a crucial tool for restaurants in the 21st century. Here's how to get started if you're new and how to optimize your understanding.

If your restaurant has a web page, web site, or online ordering portal, you need to have Google Analytics on your website.

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tracking tool and offers several out-of-the-box reports that are useful for restaurant owners. It can help you understand:

  • Who is ordering from your website.
  • Which device they are ordering from.
  • What time they're likely to order.

Read on for tips on setting up and optimizing this crucial tool for 21st century restaurants.

Restaurant Website Checklist
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Restaurant Website Checklist

This template will help you update and optimize your website, so guests can easily find and order from you.

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Setting Up Your Restaurant's Google Analytics Account

google analytics restaurants

If you already have Google Analytics set up, you can skip this section. Otherwise, read below to learn how to set up a Google Analytics account and add the tracking to your website.

Your Guide to Setting Up Google Analytics

Start by navigating to https://www.google.com/analytics/ and click on Sign In > Analytics in the top right of the webpage. If you already have a Google account or Gmail address you can use that to login. Otherwise, you’ll want to create a new Google account.

Whether you sign in or create a new account, start by clicking the Sign up link on the right of the Google Analytics homepage above. Enter the information, including your local time zone in the “Reporting Time Zone” setting. 

On the next screen, copy the Website Tracking code and enter in the footer of your site. (You may need to contact the Webmaster company that build your website to add this tracking code).

Now you're all set up! Let's look at five areas of the site you can use to better understand your online customer base. 

5 Tips For Every Restaurateur Using Google Analytics

1) Visitor Traffic by City

By navigating to AUDIENCE > Geo > Location Google Analytics, you can easily see a breakdown of website traffic by country. However, unless you have a fleet of drones like Amazon, you’ll want to focus on specific cities traffic. 

To identify city traffic, click on Primary Dimension: City underneath the global map of countries.

This report is much more interesting - showing a list of traffic by city.

As a restaurant owner, this report will help answer some key questions. For example: Is your website traffic focused on where you are physically located, or are other nearby cities featured as well?

If you see several visitors outside the city you're located, you may consider online ordering with delivery, as there are clearly hungry prospective diners!

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2) Traffic by Time of Day

This report is not available as a standard report, but is especially useful to restaurants to identify times of the day when your restaurant's website traffic is highest. To create this report, navigate to CUSTOMIZATION > Custom Reports and click + New Custom Report.

On the next screen select Sessions as your metric (in blue) and Hour as your dimension (in green).

Completed properly, your custom report should look like this:

restaurant google analytics

Hit save and view your new report, showing traffic by time of day (where hour matches the local time zone configured in your Google Analytics account). 

restaurant website data
This report will answer pressing questions about website traffic relating to your restaurant. Are you missing out on a potential lunch, or are visitors night owls looking at your menu into the wee hours of the night?

For this example, noon to 3 PM is the sweet spot for traffic: we have some hungry visitors!

3) Traffic by Device - Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile

Depending on your restaurant website or online ordering platform, you may be turning off potential diners because your website does not receive mobile traffic. Or, maybe mobile visitors are coming to your site, but leave because they cannot find a menu or load anything within their screens.

This report is another standard report, that you can find navigation to AUDIENCE > Mobile > Overview. This report is broken up by the standard device types: desktop, mobile, and tablet.

restaurant google analytics

Take a look at the amount of overall sessions and the percentage in gray - do you have a sizable amount of mobile traffic? You also want to look at Bounce Rate, which is the amount of users who leave your website after viewing only one page.

4) Compare Your Device Traffic to Other Restaurant Websites

Depending on the settings you used when creating your Google Analytics account, you can benchmark your site against others in the restaurant industry. 

The above device report is even more interesting with industry benchmarks. By selecting Industry Vertical: “Food & Drink” in the report under AUDIENCE > Benchmarking > Devices, you can gain even more insights on device traffic.

restaurant site data

Where is the biggest increase in New Sessions / New Users? If mobile, this highlights a need to build a better mobile website for your on-the-go visitors.

5) Ensure Your Restaurant Website Loads Quickly

Regardless of whether you have a restaurant website, single page, or online ordering portal, it’s important to ensure your customers can load the content quickly. How disappointed would you be to go to a restaurant's website only to find that the dinner or lunch menu doesn’t load at all?

By going to another standard report in Google Analytics under BEHAVIOR > Site Speed > Overview, you can access a report that will show your website’s average page load speed. 

page speed

Doubleclick says that "publishers whose mobile sites load in 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those whose sites load in 19 seconds."

According to Google, site speed matters even more for mobile devices, where even a nominal increase in seconds can significantly increase the likelihood of a visitor abandoning your website. "As page load time goes from one second to seven seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases 113%. Similarly, as the number of elements - text, titles, images - on a page increases from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95%.

Empowering Your Restaurant With Data

Google Analytics is a free tool and a must-have for your website. If you found the above useful, let us know on social media - we love to hear about how restaurants are using technology to improve their business!

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