How to Make Google Analytics Work for Your Restaurant Website

How to Make Google Analytics Work for Your Restaurant Website

To maximize your bottom line in the restaurant business, you need to make Google Analytics work for your website. Google Analytics has a wealth of information that can help you better understand your guests, how they use your restaurant website, and ultimately improve their entire hospitality experience.

Yet it can be a challenge to unlock all of the insight that Google Analytics has to offer. Fortunately, it’s simple when you know where to look. Below are some restaurant website metrics we recommend checking out, with step-by-step guides on where to find this information:

Set up Google Analytics

Make sure you have a Google Analytics account set up and that it’s properly tracking your website. There are many step-by-step resources that can help you get everything in order. Once that’s done, here’s what you must pay attention to.

How People Visit Your Site

By knowing which devices and browsers that guests use to access your website, you can ensure that you’re giving them all of the information they need quickly and easily. If most people are visiting your website from their mobile device or tablet, you want to make sure you have a responsive, fast-loading site with all of your pertinent information on display front and center.

In order to see what devices and browsers your visitors are using, log in to Google Analytics and click on “Audience.” Make sure you’re on the correct account for your restaurant. Under the “Audience” tab, click “Mobile” and “Overview.” This will display the various devices on the right hand side of the screen. Under the "Sessions" column, you can see a breakdown of website sessions by device and the percentage of visitors coming from mobile, desktop and tablet.

To get information about the browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc) and operating system (Mac or PC), click “Technology” on the left-hand navigation, then select “Browser & OS.” You can see various browsers ranked in order of popularity on the right-hand side of the screen.

Referral Traffic

This refers to the last place website visitors were online before they came to your website through a direct link. Knowing how guests find your restaurant, and ultimately land on your website is important. You can make sure those channels have the most up-to-date and favorable information.

For example, if you see lots of traffic coming from Yelp, you should make sure that all information on your Yelp page is correct. If you get a lot of traffic from a particular media outlet, you may want to explore doing additional advertising or PR with that publication.

In order to see which sites are referring the most traffic to your restaurant, click “Acquisition” on the left-hand side. Then click “All Traffic” and “Referrals”. On the right side, you’ll see the top referring sites ranked in order of volume.

Time of Day

Understanding what time of day visitors are accessing your restaurant website is useful information. If you see that traffic spikes on your restaurant website around 4 pm, as guests begin weighing their dinner options, that may be the optimal time to do an Instagram post of your happy hour, or send an email blast with your specials for the evening.

Google Analytics doesn’t have a time of day metric built in, but there are some valuable add-ons that can provide this information to you in just a few clicks. Start by clicking on “Customization” on the left-hand side and select “Custom Reports.” Once there, select “Import from Gallery” to load a pre-created report. In the search box, search for "performance time of day" and import the first link titled "Performance by time event (Hour of Day, Day of the Week, Week of the Year, Month of the Year)."

This will load a list of numbers that represent the different days of the week, ranked from the busiest to the quietest. To view visitor performance based on time of day, select the tab "Hour to Hour of Day." This will load a list of numbers that represent various hours throughout the day, ranked from busiest times to least busy times on a 24-hour clock.

Demographics

Knowing the age and gender of your website visitors can give you a better understanding of your brick-and-mortar guests. By default, Google Analytics doesn’t track this information. But you can gain access by turning on this feature.

Start by clicking on “Audience”, then “Demographics”, then “Overview.” From there, you will see a blue “Enable” button. Click on that to accept the terms and begin collecting information anonymously about your website visitors. The content will need about a week or so to populate to provide meaningful information. By understanding more about your website visitors and their digital behavior, you can make better decisions about your restaurant both online and off.