I don’t know how many people search — or want to search — for specific menu items, but both Foursquare and Yelp are offering it on their mobile apps. (There may be others, too, but those are the two local apps I use the most.)
The menu database is a lot bigger now than it was then. Foursquare says it currently has more than 43 million menu items from 500k+ places. Here’s a screenshot from Foursquare of the new menu search on iOS (it’s available on Android, too):
Yelp also has a form of menu search, though it’s not as fully refined as what Foursquare now offers and I don’t think Yelp has ever actually announced this feature.
In the iOS app (and I presume on Android, too), you can search for specific menu items and Yelp will do its best to find matching places. Sometimes it works pretty well. I did a search for a type of cheese and at least the first couple matches served that cheese in one of its dishes.
It’s probably a nice feature for a certain segment of the population, and in competitive restaurant areas, it probably opens the door a bit to a form of MSO … menu search optimization.
Anyone doing anything like that with restaurant clients or, if you’re a restauranteur, at your business?