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Foursquare has added another new feature to its desktop service – restaurant menus.

The update, which uses technology from start-up SinglePlatform, adds 13m food items from 250,000 restaurants in major US cities.

At the moment the menus are available on the desktop and mobile sites, but the company says it will launch them soon on Foursquare's apps. 

This is the latest move by Foursquare to add to the number of services it provides to its users – last week’s addition of the Explore function to its desktop site means the company is edging towards becoming a local search engine.

Explore gives users data from 1.5bn check-ins in the form of recommendations when searching for a restaurant in a particular location.

By adding menus, restaurants can now give Foursquare users even more information by keeping these places' details up-to-date.

It then opens up further possibilities for restaurants to promote special offers and improve customer loyalty.

As more restaurants appear on Foursquare and competition heats up, it's likely that Foursquare will start to offer premium listings and sponsored links.

For now though, the addition of menus is another example of Foursquare moving away from gamification and towards providing a useful service that in turn opens up new avenues for monetisation.

David Moth

Published 19 January, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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