I continue to find new value in Google’s Local Business Listing. I work with several restaurants and it is clear that restaurants are on the forefront of leveraging Web 2.0 technologies. The most recent data point is that two restaurants (Miles away from freeway off ramps) I support are finding drivers with web based GPS systems (ex. iphones) directing them off the freeway and bringing them to restaurants which they would never have found driving alone the freeway.
For example small applications (Networking 2.0) for iphones translate Google Business Listing & Google Maps and translate that information on the fly to direct a user to the top BBQ listing along a freeway and then the user is directed to their restaurant choice.
There are two take home messages from an application like this. First you need to continually work on being on the top 10 box of Google maps. In this example the iphone application starts with a list of the top ten BBQ restaurants that the odds are great that the user will select from. The second point is that the Top 10 lists are not perfect as the #8 choice is not even a restaurant. This shows that developing this information is still in its infancy and you, as a smart restaurateur, can quickly get on this list, as it may not be very competitive.
The other finer point is that as a restaurateur, if you really want to work on this aspect of your advertising you need to make sure that you are categorizing your business around the list of options in the GPS software. In this application the list looks like this:
I have not researched if most of the applications use the same catagories, but I would bet that the developers of these applications are not trying to change the world on the data side, but like most databased applications are looking to use standard data-sets, that Google and other large search engines supply.