Programmatic Lunch

Yext for Food aims to put menus on the map

David Murphy

Beefeater Farnham Google search result,
complete with menu

Location data management firm Yext  has launched its Yext for Food offering, which aims to help restaurants improve their visibility to people searching for somewhere to eat, more often than not on their phone.

Yext runs a SaaS platform that enables its clients to enter details of the location of its outlets, together with opening hours and other relevant information. The data is then passed via the Yext platform to the many apps and platforms that consumers use to search for it, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Facebook, Bing, FourSquare, Yelp, Yell and around 200 others, including popular services for natives of other countries such as WeChat in China. Yext clients pay a licence fee, the size of which depends on the number of physical locations they have to maintain, for the service.

The Yext for Food offering enables restaurants, bars, and cafes to add menu items into the data they input into the Yext platform, improving their chances of appearing in search results when a consumer types in a generic search term such as ‘Thai green chicken curry’ into Google Maps for example.  The service is offered at a premium to the standard Yext listing.

Yext already offers similar vertical-focused niche offerings in the US for healthcare and mortgage broking, in the healthcare example, returning results that are appropriate for someone searching for clinicians with a given speciality.

In a briefing with Mobile Marketing yesterday evening, Yext CMO Jeff Rohrs said: “Menus are notorious for having outdated and incongruous information because they were crawled and indexed from third party sources. Yext for Food offers restaurateurs a platform to manage their menus and publish them into our partners, giving them an opportunity to provide a deeper level of information on the food they offer, as well as consistency across the digital ecosystem.

“Our own research shows that 83 per cent of diners look up menu information within minutes of making a dining decision, so it’s imperative that they have the right information to hand because if the menu is showing a seasonal offering that’s not currently available, they’re going to be disappointed.”

There’s no upper limit to the number of menu items, or other information, such as calorie counts, that can be uploaded to the Yext platform and Rohrs said that the way the Yext offering is priced makes it equally affordable to chains with hundreds of outlets and small independents.

“Yext for Food is definitely aimed at everyone and priced accordingly,” he said. “But at the other end of the spectrum, this is something that the enterprise franchise spending millions on advertising should be thinking about if it all falls down at the last hurdle because the information that’s returned when people search on their phone is incorrect or incomplete.”

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