To Battle Yelp, Google Buys Appetas, A Website Builder For Restaurants

Google today made one more acquisition that points to its interest in building up its relationship with local businesses, and particularly in the restaurant vertical to compete better against the likes of Yelp. It’s buying Appetas, a site where restaurants can build websites for themselves, integrating services like GrubHub and OpenTable to add extra features like delivery services and reservations. Google says it will shut down the service.

“Google shares Appetas’ vision for bringing incredibly simple experiences to merchants that strengthen their business. We’re very excited to use what we’ve learned with Appetas to create something even better at Google,” co-founders Curtis Fonger and Keller Smith write in a note on the company’s blog announcing the news.

As part of the acquisition, the company says that it will shut down the service. It will be working on transitioning existing users to alternative platforms “to focus on our new endeavors,” without specifying exactly what those are (we’re trying to find out and will update as we learn more).

“We’ll be reaching out to each customer individually to ensure a smooth transition,” it says.

The terms of the deal are not being disclosed but TechCrunch understands that “it was a positive outcome” for everyone involved.

Founded in 2012, Seattle-based Appetas has raised around $120,000, including a $50,000 round from Right Side Capital Management and Palo Alto Venture Science, and funding from TechStars, where it was incubated. They also raised a small amount of funding as winners of the AngelHack hackathon in 2012.

Although there are a number of places where businesses can go to create websites, what Appetas had created is a service that targets and thinks first of the kinds of tools that would be most beneficial for restaurants and cafes — the kinds of services that large chains may have implemented but smaller businesses might have found it more challenging to incorporate without forking out (pun!) lots of money to a web developer. They include not just reservations and delivery systems, but social media integrations and mobile websites.

Under Google — and assuming that the plan is to integrate the platform into Google’s wider location-based services and food-vertical content like Zagat — what will be interesting to see is whether it lets sites continue to incorporate third-party services, or instead offer them the Google equivalents, where applicable.