Yesterday Foursquare announced a small but useful update to its mobile apps. The company’s Explore feature now includes full menus, which means that customers can search for a specific dish rather than a location. If your restaurant is known for its gluten-free pies, then this update could boost your exposure.

In May, Foursquare added more menus to its Explore section. The recent addition — thanks to Locu, the same company powering menus on Yelp — joined those already contributed by local discovery startup SinglePlatform. Its database now includes more than 43 million menu items from over half a million places.

Previously customers knew where to look if they wanted to find a bakery, but what if someone was specifically craving a gluten-free pie? Now that person can type in what they’re looking for and Foursquare’s results will include all of the venues nearby that serve that dish. Additional information from the menu, such as price, will also be displayed.

SinglePlatorm lets restaurants update menus instantly on the mobile app, web, and even their Facebook Page. It’s important that you keep yours up to date; you wouldn’t want a customer to find you on Foursquare and show up only to discover that you no longer serve the item they were looking for.

Menu search can still help with discoverability, even if your restaurant isn’t famous for something. However, companies looking for an extra boost might be interested in Foursquare’s self-serve ads. Introduced in July, the ad product lets business owners pay to make their profiles appear higher in search results for nearby customers.

[Via: The Verge, Image credit: Karen Booth]