Hold up everyone, Google might be changing the way it displays restaurant search results. Google has started showing complete restaurant menus in search results when a person specifically looks for menu information, reports Search Engine Land.
Allie Brown was the first to spot this when she searched “jones brunch menu,” and promptly Tweeted out a snapshot of the results:
— Allie Brown (@alliebrown89) February 11, 2014
Google seems to have gotten the details wrong, and pulled Jones’ “all day” menu instead of their brunch menu. But that’s besides the point, and makes sense if Google is still in the testing phase.
Search Engine Land reached out to Google about whether this is a limited test or something that’s rolling out to all Google searchers. A Google spokesperson replied to the site’s inquiry with the extremely vague, “We’re always experimenting, nothing to announce at this time” response.
People have started hypothesizing where the menu data is being pulled from. Aaron Bradley points out the data could be coming from AllMenus.com, the site that’s included in the local search box for Jones.
Whoever is providing the data, I’m sure they have a deal with Google and are planning to make the big bucks.
Search Engine Land says they are certain the data is not coming from the Jones website, since the website’s menu is part of a Flash animation and doesn’t include the pricing information that Google’s menu card shows.
It can be argued that if Google rolls this out to all searchers, it will be bad for the owners of the actual restaurant establishments people are searching for, because this will eliminate people’s need to visit the actual restaurant website.
The other side of this argument is that 80 percent of consumers want to see a menu before they pick a restaurant. And less than half of independent restaurants have a website, and of the ones that do only 40 percent show their menu online (and many of those menus are old or incomplete).
So, it could also be argued that it’s noble of Google to go out of their way to give the people what they want and put menus right there, up front, in the search results.
As Search Engine Land puts it, “Google has always been a lot more concerned with making searchers happy than making website owners happy.”
[via Search Engine Land]