As rumors surfaced last month that reservations platform Resy was up for sale, Google was on our short list of best guesses as to a potential buyer. The company’s dominance in local search and discovery is well-proven, and its interest in the restaurant business has only increased in recent years.
“When I’m in a city or in a place that I’m not familiar with, I’m opening Google Maps. I’m not opening anything else, and I think that I’m not unique in that way,” Resy CEO Ben Leventhal said at Skift Restaurants Forum in September. “I think that’s the point: the funnel has changed. You used to have a service like OpenTable at the top of the funnel, and it turns out that Google’s at the top of the funnel now.”
Resy has denied reports of an impending sale. But Google, and increasingly, Google Maps, remains a vital part of the company’s interest in the restaurant business.
…But while Google might be out of the Zagat business of editorialized restaurant ratings and reviews, it’s certainly not out of the recommendations business, and it has the algorithms to prove it. A year ago, Google announced a match feature, which Dane Glasgow, Google Maps vice president of product, explained in an email interview with Skift. Your Match is a “numeric score that shows you how likely you are to enjoy a particular restaurant based on your own unique tastes and preferences, so you can quickly make a decision about where to go,” Glasgow said.
…There’s also the revamped Explore tab, offering fast access to nearby restaurant and bar listings, complete with images, star ratings, and descriptions. Tapping on a restaurant listing also offers plenty of ways to interact with quick links to directions, menus, reviews, and, in many cases, reservations.