Facebook Leaps Headfirst into the Restaurant Industry

Everyone is getting into the restaurant industry -- including Facebook. The social media giant has made two big changes that are getting their hands dirty with food delivery.

For starters, they’re rolling out a new app update that automatically collates your friends’ restaurant recommendations. Here’s what it looks like:

They’ve also unleashed a new feature that allows users to order food directly from a restaurant’s Page, taking on food ordering apps like GrubHub and Foodler.

How does Facebook restaurant ordering work?

Facebook has partnered up with Delivery.com, a food delivery service operating in about 40 US cities. The new tool allows restaurants to display their menus on their Page. If the restaurant is signed up with Delivery.com, users will see the delivery ordering info auto-populate on the restaurant’s Page.

Hungry diners can just click “Start Order” and off they go. Diners pay via credit card and don’t need a Delivery.com account. Facebook has said it won’t take a cut from restaurants or Delivery.com service. They say they’re adding this feature simply because it’s useful, but those extra page hits and app engagement stats don’t hurt either.

How does Facebook restaurant recommendations work?

Facebook combines AI and keyword recognition to know when someone is looking for a recommendation. The first time a user does this, Facebook sends a prompt to turn on the Recommendations feature, which automatically adds restaurants’ Facebook pages to the user’s post, plus a map of the restaurant’s locations.

Users will see a link to the restaurant’s Facebook page, their user rating, location and whether they’re open or not.

The app update is being “silently” updated, so users should start seeing the Recommendations soon. There will also be a Recommendations page that will collect all of the recommendations from friends onto one page.

The app update will also give recommendations for more than just restaurants.

Why should restaurants care?

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. People are more likely to follow the recommendation from a friend than the advice of some stranger’s avatar elsewhere on the Internet. Facebook is trying hard to become the go-to place for all of your entertainment and informational needs, and this is another step in that direction.

So, Google has some competition in that regard.