The world’s leading search engine is now hoping to make the dining experience a little more enjoyable by providing the menus for restaurants. The new Show Me the Menu feature is being introduced on Google search results pages. For a limited number of restaurants—at least, so far—Google will display their entire menu on the same page as their search listing, obviating the need to click to additional pages or other sites.
Show Me the Menu was initially limited to a small number of restaurants, but Google has decided to implement this in a much broader fashion. Currently, this menu option is only available to restaurants in the United States.
The menu feature requires that Google users initiate their search with the phrase “Show me the menu” followed by the name of the restaurant they are interested in. Once the search results display, there is a fairly comprehensive menu of meals, drinks, and appetizers along with their pricing. These menu items may be organized along category lines, i.e. entrees, desserts, wines, on different tabs or pages.
Google has not released where it has acquired its menu information, but there is strong evidence that Google has procured it from the menu aggregate service AllMenus.com. The taxonomic structure of the menus is so similar to AllMenus.com that it is almost assured that Google has entered into an agreement with the popular food delivery guide.
There is some question how this new feature will affect the online traffic for these restaurants. Although it would initially appear that posting the menu on the search page would detract from the number of online visitors to the actual business website, the easy to read format and comprehensive listings could inspire Google search users to click through to the landing page to see if the aesthetic appeal and ambience match the delectable meal offerings.
On the other hand there is at least anecdotal evidence that restaurants who display their menus online generate more online as well as offline traffic. Following the menu markup of their menu, one restaurant reported a dramatic uptick in website visitors and in-establishment patrons.
This new feature could inspire chefs and restaurant owners to become more involved in constructing online menus and special dishes for unique occasions. It has been speculated that many restaurants could provide specialized menus for holidays and other events which would inspire visitors to enjoy new and unique culinary creations.
It is likely that the success of those restaurants currently listing their lineups on Show Me the Menu will lead to widespread adoption of online listings. With their desire to make the internet user experience as informative and valuable as possible, there is little doubt that Google hopes to encourage more restaurants to participate in this new program.
There is also a strong mobile component involved in the platform. Mobile device users can utilize voice activated search by merely asking their smartphone or tablet, “Show me the menu for …”