The most surprising part about the recent that Yelp is adding photo menus to its site and mobile apps is that it took this long. During the eight years that the location review site has been running, in-app menus have been absent. But Yelp announced that it was adding the long-awaited feature, with a visual emphasis, to its mobile and desktop app.
Photographs are a foodie’s best friend. If you’re a food lover, you’ve pulled out your camera on more than one occasion to snap a picture of the chef’s handiwork. With the newly introduced in-app menu, Yelp is giving you another reason to snap more photos of your food. The menus will be visual, with listed menu items accompanied by user-submitted images of the food. Before this, the only menus that were accessible on a restaurant’s Yelp business page were URLs titled “Menu” that linked back to menus on the restaurants own website or a third-party platform. This link lived under the URL to the restaurant’s website.
These crowd-sourced, food porn menus will replace the former menu URL with a link titled “Explore the menu.” When you click on the link, you’ll open a menu page with dishes aggregated from user-generated photos and user reviews, and presented in list form. On the left of the menu are photographs and the name of the dish, while prices and portion sizes are located on the right side. You’ll also find that the dishes are sorted by types of meals like, “Fish and Seafood,” “Appetizers,” or “Hot Pressed Sandwiches.” The far right column lists the most popular items so if you’re unsure of what to eat, this feature might be your favorite.
Drilling down further by selecting a dish, a new page opens up with photos of the food featured prominently at the top of the page, and reviews published below. Listed conveniently on the right column of this page, you can select other menu items.
The menus are aggregated algorithmically so you may not find the prices for every dish. In one instance we found prices published by course (three, four, or five course meals) rather than by the dish for the more upscale restaurants. We should note that you won’t necessarily find menus for every restaurant that you browse. With that in mind, Yelp asks its users to include the names of the menu items and photographs of their reviews moving forward to help its algorithm to better populate the menus.
You can check out some of the menus in action on Tartine Bakery’s menu page and Kokkari Estiatorio’s Yelp menu page, as well as the screenshots below of what the Yelp menu pages will look like on your mobile phone.