How does 5 of America’s corporate fast food companies rank on Google My Business?
Inspired by this article about top ranking restaurants around the United States, we set out to learn how the giant fast food chains were fairing in local Google rankings.
And to find out for our own benefit, if their Reviews, Average Ratings and Photos were having an influence on their rankings.
Ultimately, we were looking for some statistics that could help smaller, independent restaurants to compete alongside these household names.
Study of 5 American Fast Food Chains
We studied the local Google Rankings of fast food restaurants across ten randomly chosen American cities. Locations such as Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Kansas City, Nashville, San Diego, St. Louis and Seattle.
For each city we searched Google for location + fast food restaurants as seen here for Seattle.
Then we selected five of the biggest fast food chains to track so that they would likely have a restaurant in each of the cities. These included:
- Burger King
- Chick Fil A
Turns out that despite having almost 3000 stores Chick Fil A was only recently permitted into Boston.
So, for each local search result we wanted to collect the:
- Position of each chain’s highest ranked store.
- Number of each stores’ Google Reviews and Average Rating.
- Number of Photos of on the Google My Business profiles.
And as we are based in Melbourne, Australia, proximity was never going to be a factor.
So, what did we find?
What We Learned From 5 American Fast Food Chains on Google My Business
Let’s jump straight into some of the statistics that we found.
The sixth row in our graphic above are the averages for fast food stores that ranked Number 1 for each of our 10 cities. And that’s where we begin our findings.
The Number 1 Position Averages 1387 Google Reviews at 4.44.
For any store to top their local fast food search results, they need a lot of reviews and a highly respectable average rating.
There are other factors to consider sure, but these were a common theme across the restaurants that ranked number one.
One interesting fact was that the Number 1 fast food stores in San Diego and Austin had not even claimed their Google My Business profile. Nor did Boston’s winner link to their website.
*It’s also worth mentioning here that we removed The Varsity of Atlanta from our averages because their 13946 reviews were totally skewing the results.
The Best Ranked McDonald’s Store Across 10 US Cities Averaged 33rd in Local Rankings
One of the features of our study was that the world’s largest chain is not even trying to rank in local search.
The highest ranking McDonald’s stores averaged 33rd, which is deep into the second page of results.
This suggests that a high number of reviews (1118) doesn’t help much if the customer service was poor (3.5).
*One interesting observation is that McDonald’s has lost revenue every year since Google My Business begun (June 2014).
The Fast Food Chain With The Highest Rating is Also The Highest Earner Per Restaurant
With an average review rating of 4.49, Chick Fil A’s was by far the best fast food chain for customer service. And although they are closed on Sundays, Chick Fil A earns the highest revenue per store averaging over $4 million per year.
Perhaps the introduction of Google My Business has now empowered the customer to choose how they would like to be served.
“According to Entrepreneur,Entrepreneur
one Chick Fil A store earns more
revenue than a McDonald’s,
Starbucks and Subway combined.”
In 2019, it is clear that if you want to rank higher on Google and make more money, focus on keeping your customers happy.
Less Than 1% of Franchisees Appear in Their Local 3 Packs
From the 972 franchisees in our study, only eight stores made it into their Local 3 Packs.
This was the type of statistic we were looking for. A chance for the independent owner to follow Google’s best practices and rank above the corporate giants.
Now is the time to take advantage because we suspect that more corporate attention will be given towards local rankings in the future.
The Photo Review Ratio for Number 1 Fast Food Restaurants is 35.3%.
Here’s our platform to introduce a formula that we discovered while recently studying the characteristics of high ranking cafes.
If you divide the number of photos on a Google My Business profile by the number of reviews it will give you a percentage.
We’ve been calling it a Photo Review Ratio.
This ratio given as a percentage could be used to measure how proud your customers are when they visit your store.
Photo Review Ratio as a Google My Business Ranking Factor
What began as a bit of a laugh, is now something we consider to be a little more substantial than that. And it’s no surprise that it also plays a role with fast food chains too.
For example, the average Photo Review Ratio for our five giant chains is just 15.6%. So, from every 100 reviews, only 15-16 photos were added to their store profiles.
By the way, who would want to photograph their trip through the drive through?
In comparison, the average Photo Review Ratio for the fast food stores ranked Number 1 is 35.3%. Over double, which might explain how some smaller, independent fast food stores are getting to the top of the rankings.
It’s the uniqueness of the independent stores that tends to attract more photos from their customers. And remember the three Number 1 stores that were mentioned earlier, two were unclaimed and the one from Boston that didn’t link to a website?
Their Photo Review Ratios were 50.6%, 27.7% and 24.6% respectively.
As for the top ranking cafes from our recent study, they averaged 71.1%.
If you only learned one thing today, I hope that these numbers provide hope to all the fast food restaurant owners and franchisees across the world.
I am delighted to report that the corporate dollar appears to be trending towards making the customer happy.
It would be great to hear from you.
Restaurant Local SEO: The Google Characteristics of America’s Top-Ranked Eateries
Local 3 Pack: Get Ranked on Google (7 Strategies)
We Analyzed 600 Cafes on Google. Here’s What We Learned (About Local 3 Packs)
Josh Vinecombe lives in Melton, Australia with his wife, Leeanne and two boys, Noah and Billy. He is passionate about finding new ways to help small businesses to compete with big corporations. Follow on Twitter