Google Announces Menu Items Link for Dashboard
Google has added another information-rich feature to the Google My Business information panel. This one adds functionality aimed mainly at restaurants, cafes and the like. You now have the ability to add and edit your own menu items in the info tab of your dashboard.
Depending on the category of business, you may see no menu link, a menu link, or a menu link and menu item link (plus or minus a few variations). If you’re a restaurant or cafe type business, you will now see a link to add menu items (3rd).
Why does this menu item link matter?
This new feature is best suited to businesses that do not have a someone to implement restaurant structured data on your menu on your website. If you aren’t sure what structured data means, then this is probably for you!
You’ll see the new feature in the dashboard only if the listing is not currently connected to a third party provider. The 3rd party providers often have already placed structured data around your menu items, and Google does not want or need that additional info. It also makes it more important to have your menus with those services accurate and up to date!
Here’s what it looks like
You’ll see the result of this effort in search, when someone types in your restaurant name and the word “menu”.
GMB Menu Item Features
- 140 characters for the menu section (eg breakfast, lunch, dessert, etc). This is helpful with sections such as Children’s menus, as they often need additional description space for complimentary drinks & desserts.
- 140 characters per menu item for the tile
- 1,000 characters per menu item for the description (can anyone say “just because you can doesn’t mean you should”?)
When setting this up, you must add at least one item per menu section.
One thing I found is you can flick back and forth between the items, and it doesn’t lose the content. This is handy for copying and pasting meal descriptions between menu sections.
Once you enter your menu items, the items may go through an approval process before they’re published. You may see a “pending” message on your listing, yet nothing showing on the information panel with a “pending” notice. I suspect this is a little bit of sloppy coding that will be picked up as the feature matures.
GMB Menu Item Limitations
- Text shows in a block. You cannot list items on a line-by-line basis; quite inconvenient if your menu item is a multi-course meal and you want to separate each course to its own line
- There’s no place to add the “fine print” – the small items like BYO, tipping, surcharges, per scoop, etc.
- No images of the individual menu items – this is text only
- Like Google Posts, there’s no text formatting available (no bold, italics, etc)
If your listing is currently displaying an incorrect menu, contact support, as this often requires manual intervention to correct.