- Olo has integrated with Google to allow customers to order directly from the food ordering platform's network of more than 70,000 restaurant brand locations on Google Search, Maps and Google Assistant, according to a company release. Rails, Olo's system that processes orders received from third-party channels for restaurants, transfers orders that come from Search, Maps and Assistant directly into restaurants' point-of-sale system.
- Checkers & Rally's and Portillo's Hot Dogs were the first Olo restaurants to pilot the Google integration.
- Search is increasingly becoming the path to purchase in the restaurant space and we are thrilled to team up with Google to make ordering easy while allowing restaurants to own the digital relationship with their guests," Noah Glass, Olo's founder and CEO, said in the release.
Google is hungry for a bigger slice of the restaurant business, and this deal with Olo further entrenches it in diners' restaurant discovery process.
In May, Google updated Maps on Android and iOS to showcase a restaurant brand's most popular dishes, which are gleaned from machine learning based on consumer photos and reviews. When users see a meal that catches their eye in the Overview tab in Google Maps, they can click the image to read related restaurant reviews.
The technology behemoth also launched a similar capability around the same time that diners can use when they're already sitting down at a restaurant. Using Lens, Google's visual search and vision tool, diners can learn a restaurant's most popular dishes by pointing their camera at the menu. Diners can also view ratings and reviews for these menu items.
Google's growing interest in restaurants reflects diners' growing reliance on mobile devices to search for places to eat and compare reviews. Seventy-two percent of online searches for restaurants are done via a mobile device, and this new Olo capability could help Google drive more traffic to its channels.
This also makes Olo a more attractive partner for restaurants. Point-of-sale integration is key for brands looking to grow their delivery capabilities without straining operations and juggling multiple tablets to manage incoming orders from third-party platforms. Now that Google users can search and order directly via Search, Maps and via voice with Assistant, Olo's partner restaurants could get a nice bump in traffic and gain greater diner mind share.
It's unclear how far Google will delve into the world of restaurant reviews and reservations. While it's strategy so far has been amassing power in this space through partnerships, it certainly has the deep pockets and technological power to launch its own restaurant reservations platform. But its string of partnerships may reflect a desire to let the restaurant experts handle direct dealings with participating brands, rather than get into the weeds itself. Regardless, Google's influence in restaurants is growing, and chains and digital ordering platforms alike could benefit from its offerings.