As Menu Search Expands, is MSO Far Behind?

Filed in Local Search by Matt McGee on September 10, 2013 2 Comments

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.)

Foursquare announced its searchable menus on Monday — something we talked about as a likelihood way back in January 2012 when Foursquare first added menus to its business listings.

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?

Comments (2)

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  1. Interesting find and question, Matt. It does look like Yelp’s page for certain foods in Swizz’s menu is marked up with some review schemas, so that no doubt helps. I would venture to say that implementing schemas for menu items on a restaurant’s website would be one of the best ways now to optimize a restaurant’s menu for the sake of SEO. So perhaps the product schema might be used along with the review schema to give it the best shot of appearing with a rich snippet in the SERPs along with of course the markup.

    I would also say that it’s key to make sure the restaurant’s menu is listed in as many important restaurant-related directories as possible and that the information is consistent throughout.

    • Matt McGee says:

      Hey David – that’s a great point. I hadn’t even thought of the Schema option, which would definitely count as MSO. Thx for making the post better with your comment. Much appreciated.

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