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Challenges and trends of restaurants in 2021 according to Google searches


The term “Why?” has led Google searches in 2020, a year that has put the whole world to the test, the term “why” has been searched more than ever. That is the main conclusion of the annual video of “The Year in Searches” from Google and that at the end of this article you will see.

Some of those “why” were related to the main news of the year: he COVID-19 and social unrest around the world. Others were motivated by what would have been great news any other year: wildfires in Australia earlier this year and those in the United States last summer, the huge explosion in Beirut and the deaths of personalities as diverse as Julio Anguita, Pau Donés, Diego Maradona or Sean Connery.

From the point of view of professionals marketing, the most representative question of 2020 could be “why the toilet paper ran out”. This question reflects the curiosity and frustration we have felt this year, and responds to buyers' need for basic and practical information. In fact, searches for “who has” Y “in stock” have increased more than 8.000% in the last year, according to Google data.

Everybody has searched for information, from store hours to safety restrictions and tips on working and teaching from home, and of course, also about restaurants.

If we compare searches in Spain during the last 15 years of term “why”, we see in the following graph how there has been absolutely exponential growth in the year 2020.

It seems that the 2020 it has been a year of many questions, that in this 2021 we should give some answer, and an interesting way of approaching them, is analyze the change in consumption habits in the restaurant industry motivated by this pandemic, checking how some of the main Google searches related to the sector have evolved.

It's without doubt that the ways of finding and connecting with restaurants have changed a lot in the last decade, and that technology has become one of the main connection elements between customers and restaurants.

When we look at Google's search statistics for the year 2020, definitely, can be seen the new challenges facing the restaurant industry and the great opportunities and challenges that this New Hospitality, as I defined a few months ago, based on digital connections.

If we analyze the searches for generic terms, we found that there is one inverse correlation between presence in restaurants and food delivery, which shows that during a good part of the year some customers have substituted going to restaurants for the delivery, and even clients who had never had experiences in this service, have started to use it, logically motivated by government limitations on the former. In the final part of the year it seems that the trend continues in parallel, entering a graphic channel that validates the importance of the two models for the coming months, and that will last for years to come.

Many people have searched “Restaurants open” a Google, since el impact of the pandemic on the behavior of customers have changed the way they search for restaurants, and in it, Google has played a vital role when customers want to find nearby restaurants or dine during such uncertain times..

The local and the proximity have been two very relevant values in restaurant searches during the year 2020, as can be seen in the following images.

For all of us who are in contact with the sector, seems easily predictable the growth of search interest for all terms related to delivery and food to go or delivery, and the significant decrease in restaurants for lunch or dinner in person, motivated by the impact and limitations of Covid19.

It is also important to highlight the searches of the main aggregators or digital intermediaries, which in most cases have become that necessary technological connector so that millions of customers can enjoy their gastronomic experiences at home, big data companies that are gaining more ground and more relevance in the national market.

According to a report published a few days ago in the United States, is encrypted in a 30% restaurant searches to dine down, which shows the important impact on the common habits of restaurant customers, on the opposite side there is a 49% growth in searches related to delivery or takeout services, with an increase also of 74% on clicks related to this type of product or service.

What does maintain a clear and unique leadership, is the device on which these searches are carried out, since both in restaurants to dine in person, what does it mean a 73% from mobile searches, as in the food delivery service, what a 79% searches from smartphone, the device has been the same and clearly mobile search dominates the hospitality market in any of its models.

Restaurant impressions for dinner dropped a 16% with the 75% of all mobile ad impressions

Take-out consultations increased by 49% with a 79% on mobile devices

Clicks decreased by 30% in face-to-face restaurants

The most difficult information to digest by the sector in relation to the searches provided by Google, is the decreased restaurant clicks for dinner, definitely, decreased interest in this face-to-face modality. Reflects the damage caused by the coronavirus outbreak to the industry, especially companies that could not alleviate this effect with takeout and delivery services.

Restaurant clicks for dinner dropped by 30%

Device trends for restaurants and takeout

Despite the coronavirus disruption, device trends for dining restaurant searches are relatively in line with the general pattern across industries. The mobile searches increased significantly since this time last year with a growth rate of 42% for the third quarter of 2020, while desktop computers show a much slower growth rate than 5%.

YoY growth of queries by device for Dine-in restaurants

The tablet searches generally show little growth in key industries, but restaurant visits to dine on tablets decreased by 37% compared to the previous year.

Things are a bit more stable for takeaway and delivery food searches with a year-on-year growth of 51% on mobile devices, decreased -2% in tablets and an increase in 56% on desktop computers.

YoY Growth of Queries by Device for Takeaway Restaurants

Therefore, and since the year 2020 it has been a year of many questions, I want to share with my readers five responses to those “Why?” by way of final conclusion, and based on the previous analysis carried out.

1.- Because the customer searches for restaurants on his mobile

Regardless of the type of searches we perform, either in-person restaurants or food delivery services, delivery or delivery, what is clear is that user searches on mobile devices, the adaptation and adaptation to this type of device of the content and communication of any hospitality business is absolutely necessary to be relevant in the digital market.

2.- Because food delivery grows exponentially

The positive correlation between the impact of the pandemic and the search for delivery services, food delivery, or food collection is obvious, the impact of COVID is changing the way and habits of consumers who know that restaurants now also go to customers. Take-out food and home delivery have undoubtedly become an essential service thanks to this pandemic, for both customers and restaurants.

3.- Because interest in going to restaurants has not been lost

The data and graphs show that the customer has not lost interest in going to restaurants in person, but this habit is highly dependent on the evolution of the pandemic, of the measures imposed by the different institutions and governments, and let's not forget too, of the media impact of news related to COVID 19.

4.- Because the sector must adapt to changing situations

We face a time with a changing demand, with a complex market and high volatility, which demonstrates the inverse relationship that exists between face-to-face customers and delivery services. In the pre-covid stage, the data showed that the customer was replacing ordering with cooking, but this seems like it may be changing, motivated by restrictions in restaurants, and now the customer is replacing ordering at home for going to restaurants. Although a very hopeful data, for the evolution with a certain normality of the restaurants is the good speed of recovery of face-to-face customers when the measures are softened.

5. Because face-to-face models coexist with digital ones

We face a moment with a pendulum motion, in which three business models coexist together and in some cases with an inverse relationship, on the one hand, the restaurants that continue to bet on the face-to-face customer exclusively, They face high risk, with limitations and external factors that they cannot control, on the other hand, new business models with a digital base, that grow exponentially understanding that today the client chooses where and when they want to live their experience, and finally, a hybridization of both models, where more and more restaurants that were born to provide services to face-to-face customers are betting on digital mobility services.

Access to valuable information and constant quality and updated training, will remain two key levers to adapt to this complex and changing context, thus, I invite you to follow the research and articles that we publish in this digital newspaper and to know the courses on Digital Transformation and Restaurants 4.0 that at the Diego Coquillat School we have taught many students from different countries.

Definitely, Google search data in the year 2020 show that lhe pandemic is assuming a very important change in the consumption habits of restaurant customers, with great challenges, risks and opportunities for the sector that must be very clear that the traditional model is changing and adapt its offer to these habits in order to respond to the new “Why?”, certainly, will also arise in the 2021.

About the Author

CEO of DiegoCoquillat.com and director of the EscuelaDiegoCoquillat.com, teacher, consultant, lecturer and entrepreneur incorrigible. If you can not find it here, search near the sea. Passion for new technologies and restaurants ... passion for life.


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