Google Announces Menu Items Link on Google My Business Dashboard
Google has now rolled out this feature to services businesses. Think dentist, marketing agency, lawyer, nutritionist, and even a singing teacher! Depending on your category of business, the link will say either “menu” or “services”.
Google has added another information-rich feature to the Google My Business information panel. This one adds functionality aimed mainly at restaurants, cafes, deli’s 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), or a “service” link (essentially a menu of services). If you’re a restaurant or cafe type business, you will now see a link to add menu items (3rd).
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 their own menu schema around your menu items, and Google does not want conflicting information about your menu.
You’ll see the output of this effort in search, when someone types in your restaurant name and the word “menu”. On a desktop display you’ll see a box at the top of the search results, with tabs for the varying menus.
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 restates the importance of having 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”.
On desktop, the menu can only be displayed (for both restaurants and service businesses) by adding the word “menu” after the name of the business. So it isn’t exactly desktop friendly. But ultimately, it’s not designed for desktop – remember Google is all about products for mobile.
On mobiles, the menu displays automatically –
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
- This feature is currently for Food Establishment type businesses only.
- 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, surcharge, 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)
- Displays in English only at this stage.
- No currency symbol displays with the number, and the number is in dollars format. This could lead to the wrong impression entirely about your business.
- No price range – this is particularly important for services businesses. So for now, I recommend service businesses skip prices.
If your listing is currently displaying an incorrect menu, contact support, as this often requires manual intervention to correct.
I have been working with local businesses as a Local SEO specialist since 2010 and as a Google My Business Product Expert (formerly called Top Contributor) since 2016. I write about GMB suitable for most folks, business owners included.
When not working for clients, I volunteer with the local businesswomen’s network, volunteers on Google’s forum, and the Local Search forum.
Away from the keyboard I’m a very busy mother with two boys, nine chickens, two cows, three sheep, a cockatiel and a stupidly happy dog.