It must be rare for a person to crave a certain restaurant ("ooh, those straight-backed chairs would hit the spot right now"); instead, most hankerings relate to food. Yahoo seems to have introduced a very helpful feature, then, as it’s started allowing users to search for exact menu items instead of eateries.
A Yahoo representative explained in an email to WebProNews, "As part of Yahoo!’s strategy to uncover relevant details about real-world things (aka the ‘Web of Things’) that are hidden in the billions of pages on the Web, we’re now extracting and surfacing specific restaurant menu information in our Web and Local search results."
Go ahead and give the feature a try, if you’d like. Just type the name of a dish along with either a city and state combo or a zip code, and you should see something like the following screenshot:
Our tests turned out rather well, all in all. Perhaps the feature isn’t perfect; strictly speaking, Pazzo’s offers a chicken parmesan hoagie, and it’s clear that what Johnny Carino’s serves is a panini. Still, those distinctions are somewhat difficult to make, the number of restaurants in Lexington is rather small, and those sandwiches sound quite good, which tends to justify the results in our eyes.
This is definitely an area in which Yahoo now has an edge over Google and Bing, at least.