In 2017, Google added a new tab to the local panel for restaurants that provide online information about their menu.
The search engine shows the new tab if it can detect items on the restaurant’s menu. This tab, in turn, allows users to access the menu of the restaurant.
Recently, the search engine giant announced a new update which gives restaurants the option to edit and add menus directly to their Google My Business listing.
This is different from the existing feature by which businesses simply add links to their menus.
What is the New GMB Update?
Instead of using a third party or the Google My Business application programming interface (GMB API), restaurants can now add a menu in their GMB page with this new update.
The editor is available under the GMB dashboard’s Info tab. With the editor, business owners can edit prices, titles, and descriptions. Google allows the menus to be broken down into sections for entrees, appetizers, desserts, drinks, and more, making local search marketing easier.
Prior to this update, the search engine only allowed business owners to create and edit menus via the GMB API.
Not every business will have this option, however. It is only available for listings in English-speaking locations, provided that they are not currently connected to a third-party provider.
The menus are also only viewable on mobile devices.
GMB Updates in the Past
Google began adding menus as far back as 2014.
In 2014, the search engine giant announced that it will be displaying menus as a OneBox answer on the search engine results pages (SERPs). The OneBox shows multiple food options and can be triggered by search terms that include the restaurant name and the keyword “menu.”
Fast forward to two years later, and Google gave restaurants the ability to control their menu links. Then in 2017, the search engine released a feature that lists wait times of restaurants, particularly how long a customer will have to wait to get a seat at a restaurant at any specific hour.
What This Means for Restaurant Businesses
How does this update, and all other menu-related updates in the past, affect restaurant businesses?
Note that GMB is now an important traffic source for restaurants. GMB relies on content directly in the SERPs, which means it’s important to maintain complete and updated information about your restaurant—including the menu.
In addition, the advantage of the update is twofold. In the eyes of the search engine, relevant menu information is readily available. Google will use your menu as keywords. Search terms like “burger under $5” can boost your ranking and online visibility.
In the eyes of users, this makes sense, too. Consumers want to learn as much as they can about a new restaurant they want to try. They may want to know what it looks like, and what’s on the menu. So, by providing this information, you encourage such visitors to continue clicking.
To sum it up, having the option to edit your menu directly—and by actually filling the information in—you’re guaranteed to have a much more optimized GMB listing. That improves customers’ familiarity with your restaurant before they’ve even experienced it.