An at-times controversial Google feature designed for placing food orders is undergoing a big change, according to Restaurant Business. That feature is Order with Google, an application that integrates restaurant menus and food delivery company links into Google search results for restaurants. This makes placing a food order easy to do right from the search results or map page with no need to click out to other sites, including the restaurant's webpage. Google doesn't charge restaurants or delivery services for this listing; for the search engine company, it's a way to provide more service to keep customers coming back to Google.
Currently, when searching for a restaurant, the results page provides information like hours, directions, and reviews. It also has an "Order" button that has been generated by Google. However, on June 30, Order with Google will begin sending users to the restaurant's ordering page or a third-party option such as Grubhub or Toast. A poll by PYMTS found that 62% of respondents named Google as their first choice for online restaurant searches. That makes an ordering feature a powerful way to drive business for both restaurants and delivery companies.
The Controversy Behind The Change
Order with Google has been controversial with smaller delivery services who say they've been denied access to the feature. Some restaurants also object to the automatically generated listings that drive online orders to third-party ordering sites rather than directly to the restaurant. Delivery companies cut deeply into the profit of food orders, sometimes charging as much as 30% of the food order to make the drop-off.
However, Google's decision to allow customers to bypass restaurant websites to place orders has rubbed some businesses the wrong way. A class action lawsuit was filed in 2022 alleging that the system was designed purposely to make customers think they were ordering directly from the restaurant, which Google has denied. A judge ultimately dismissed the case.
The removal of the direct ordering option on Google will mean a few more clicks for those ordering food after searching for a restaurant. Rather than viewing the menu on the search page directly, patrons will be redirected to the ordering sites of delivery companies or the restaurant itself, making the transaction more transparent.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.