Foursquare Allows Users to Search for Menu Items
When you're thinking about a place to have dinner, you often imagine what you want to eat as opposed to where you want to eat. However, except for more generalized classifications like "Italian" or "Chinese" or "seafood," there hasn't really been a great way to search for specific dishes - say, "chicken and sausage paella" or "Beef Wellington."
That changes with a new feature from Foursquare that allows users to enter search queries for specific menu items and find the restaurants that serve them. If you run a restaurant you'll want to make sure your online menu can be easily crawled by search engine bots.
Over 43 Million Items are Searchable
The new menu search feature from Foursquare allows you search against a database of over 43 million menu items from more than half-a-million restaurants, making it easy to see exactly who's serving up not just sandwiches but hot corned beef on rye on any given day. The update adds to a string of other new features brought to Foursquare lately that improve functionality for users while keeping the company's brand visible in headlines.
Foursquare isn't actually the first company to implement such a feature, as YP began allowing users to search for specific menu items a few weeks ago. Industry observers expect Yelp to add this type of functionality soon as well.
As mentioned previously, if you own a restaurant, the news is a good reason to ensure that your site contains at least one version of your menu in the form of text as opposed to a JPEG or PDF. This way, Foursquare's and YP's search bots will be able to easily crawl the menu and include it in search results.
Other Recent Additions to Foursquare
Back in May, Foursquare added another feature that allows you find the exact place you're looking for in the form of ultra-specific search filters. With this feature, you can turn on search filters to only show places:
- I've Check In Before
- I Haven't Checked In
- My Friends Have Checked In
- Offering Specials
- Open Now
You can also select what kind of price level you're seeking, ranging from "$" to "$$$$."
Just over two weeks ago, Foursquare also debuted new "push recommendations" that give you alerts about the cities, venues and restaurants you visit without requiring you to seek them out or even have the Foursquare app open. For example, entering a certain restaurant may prompt Foursquare to send you the name of the dish your friends have previously recommended, while driving into a city may result in a few recommendations for places to grab a drink later that evening.