Google Maps has added a “popular dishes” section to eatery listings, giving prospective diners a faster way to check out a restaurant’s most talked about food and drinks. The popular dishes section is located within a listing’s overview tab and is already available on Google Maps for Android devices. The section will be rolling out to iOS devices over the next few months.
Recommendations on a silver platter. The popular dishes section is populated by a machine learning algorithm that matches the names of dishes (supplied by users) to corresponding photos and reviews. As seen above, popular dishes are displayed in a carousel and tapping on a dish will display associated reviews and images.
Why we care. Recommendations and reviews are the bread and butter of the food and beverage (F&B) industry and can have a big impact on the bottom line. Restaurant owners now have one more way to optimize their Maps listings by encouraging their patrons to post photos of their meals and/or leave reviews to build out their popular dishes sections.
This can be especially useful for F&B businesses in areas that get a lot of tourism, as Maps can translate reviews and provides a visual accompaniment so customers have an idea of what they’re ordering.
Since May, Google has launched a number of new features with Maps at its core. It redesigned Explore tab to help users find things to do, added planning features to facilitate groups, created an all-in-one Trips interface for travelers and now its enticing customers with popular dishes. All of these offerings centralize a user’s activities around Google’s services, which can ultimately make business more dependent on Google as well.