Having a Google My Business profile is essential for local businesses that want to increase their exposure online. The information companies put into a Google My Business profile will be shown in Knowledge Cards on search result pages as well as on platforms like Google Maps. However, Google can be like an elephant at times and has a hard to forgetting the information provided by a business. Last week, Google made a change that will allow restaurants to opt-out of online delivery.

Restaurants that use Google My Business can include a lot of useful information in the profile. Besides the address and telephone number, business owners can have their website, menu, photos, and more added to their profile. There was also a place where restaurant owners can add a call to action for online delivery. This link to an online delivery service is what Google has changed.

Not all restaurants have delivery drivers, and many rely on services like GrubHub and Deliveroo to handle their online orders and delivery. However, a business owner may decide to switch delivery service or decide to hire dedicated drivers. Until last week, there was no way to remove the online ordering call-to-action.

Google has created a form that restaurant owners can use to opt-out of having the call-to-action button that links to an online delivery option on their knowledge card. The call-to-action button was prominently displayed on the Knowledge Card. According to reports, the opt-out form will only remove the call-to-action button. There will still be links to the online order options on the profile. Also, the 3rd party apps often pay for ads to run under a knowledge panel that encourages people to order online. This change to Google My Business won't affect those ads either. 

Restaurants like delivery services because they're an easy way to reach new customers without having to hire more staff. However, these services are not free and cost the restaurant money with every transaction. For example, GrubHub charges a rate of 3.05% + $0.30 per order. And if restaurant owners want to get the payment from an order that was placed on GrubHub on the same day it's made, it costs an additional $1 per transaction. 

When the call-to-action is prominently displayed, many customers might choose to order online which makes every order slightly less profitable. Under such circumstances, it's understandable why some restaurant owners don't want Google to make online ordering the primary way that people buy food from a restaurant. 

Restaurant owners want customers to use their 3rd party online services only as a last resort. It's fine when it brings in customers who otherwise couldn't come to the restaurant. Losing about 5 percent per order is okay when it's the exception. It's counterproductive if customers who would have come to the restaurant decide to order through GrubHub instead. 

Google only added the call-to-action for online ordering through 3rd party services in 2019, and there are cleary kinks in the system that need to be worked out. In the meantime, this change gives Google My Business users more control over their profiles. 

For more recent news about changes and updates to Google My Business, read this article on a change that affected the way service areas were listed on the platform

Published on: Sep 30, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.