Have you ever sat down at a restaurant with another person and not asked, “What are you going to order?” Even if your mind is already made up, there is a slight chance that your dining companion might have found a special item that you overlooked. Should that be your order? Apparently, Google has embraced this concept of “menu curiosity” and integrated into a pair of new features. The goal is to make it easier for the undecided restaurant patron to decide on what to get for dinner.

Point and View

The first feature works through Google Lens and requires you to point your phone’s camera at the restaurant’s menu. The hope is that will trigger an instant Google search revealing reviews and photographs of that eatery’s most popular dishes. Right now, the feature is up and running in Google Pixel devices for English language menus only, but Google is working fervently to expand to other languages.

The second feature works through the Google Maps app. When you “lock onto” a restaurant through the app, a “Popular Dishes” sub-menu will pop up offering suggestions to tempt your taste buds. That works especially great if you’re out at lunch on your own and don’t have anyone to ask, “What are you ordering?”  You also have the option to add your own instant review and dish photos that can become part of a future customer’s search.

Yelp Reviews, Too

Google isn’t the first company to make meal recommendations available to users. Last year, Yelp incorporated its own versions of a popular dishes feature that is aptly named, “Popular Dishes.” The difference between the two operations is that Google allows the customer to dissect and review a specific dish as opposed to the entire restaurant.

Get Proactive

All of this spins back to the restaurant businesses themselves. They need to be proactive when it comes to engaging with their customers. The more meal photos and reviews that are posted by customers, the higher rankings a restaurant will get through an online search. Restaurant owners, managers and even food servers should encourage their happy eaters to share their experiences. This can only mean that taking pictures of meals will grow in popularity. It is win/win!