Google has officially announced a new feature that was reportedly spotted in the testing stages several weeks ago, which is the addition of restaurant menus to the Google search results pages. The restaurant menus show up in the form of a OneBox answer and are triggered by searches that include the restaurant’s name and the word “menu.”
The OneBox restaurant menus feature tabs for different section of the menu, such as appetizers, lunch and dinner, and will often include prices as well.
It’s unclear where exactly Google is getting the information about each individual restaurant’s menu. Matt McGee from Search Engine Land obtained a statement from a Google spokesperson who said they get all of their menu data from a third party provider, similar to how they show other types of answers, like weather. Google cannot add menus for individual restaurants directly, but they are constantly working to expand their database of menus and restaurants.
This new feature is kind of a double edged sword. On one hand it could potentially drive traffic away from a restaurant’s official website when people are searching specifically for their menu, but on the other hand it could help generate more business by providing an answer to the user’s question immediately. It also has the potential to pose a huge threat to sites like AllMenus and Urban Spoon.
At this time, Google’s OneBox menus are currently only available in the United States. Hopefully Google releases more information in the near future about when restaurant menus will be rolled out to other parts of the world, and how restaurant owners can go about customizing the information that appears in them.