Google to scale back its restaurant ordering feature

Google is scaling back a feature that allows customers to order from restaurants directly via its search engine and maps. 

By the end of June, Order with Google will instead redirect customers to third-party ordering sites or the restaurant’s own website, making Google more of a middleman than a bonafide ordering channel.

The company said it originally developed Order with Google to make it easier for people to order food and to help restaurants get more online business. “Over time, we’ve found that people generally prefer to complete their food orders on partner and merchant websites,” a spokesperson said in an email. “So we’re now transitioning Order with Google to focus on linking directly to partners, allowing people to complete their transactions with the partner and merchant of their choice.”

Launched in 2018, Order with Google boasted unique benefits for both consumers and restaurants. For customers, it made the process of searching for a restaurant and ordering more seamless. And unlike on most third-party ordering sites, restaurants kept all of the data from those orders. Google charged them nothing to use the service.

Add in the fact that Google is the first place many consumers go to search for restaurants, and it’s not surprising that Order with Google is so widely used. A quick search showed that it’s a common feature at chain restaurants and independents alike.

As of June 30, when a customer clicks on a restaurant’s “Order” button within Google search or maps, it will bring up a list of third-party sites where the restaurant is listed, such as DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Toast, or the restaurant’s own ordering page. They’ll then be able to start their order from one of those sites.

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