Foursquare beats Yelp to the punch with menu listings

Location-based social media apps are scrambling for features that will make them stand out from the pack, and Foursquare appears to be winning.

The war between the location-based, social media apps with reviews and whatever else they can think of has gotten more heated as Foursquare came up a new feature with that seems rather obvious.

That would be adding menus and other services offered to location listings.

Taking a page (excuse the pun) from MenuPages to some extent, Foursquare is teaming with "awesome" start-up SinglePlatform, which will be responsible for powering 13,000,000 menu items listed from approximately 250,000 restaurants in major U.S. cities -- and that's just for starters.

This additional wealth of information is now live on Foursquare's desktop and browser sites, and it will be "coming soon" to the mobile apps when the APIs are delivered to developers.

But in an age where we seem to be inundated by apps fighting over us to check-in and check out reviews (i.e. Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook, and Google, just for a small start), it's becoming obligatory for these businesses to figure out a way to differentiate themselves while still trying to beat the competition. And that's not becoming easy as all of these sites have roughly the same feature sets.

Surprisingly, Yelp, the site that arguably had the best running start given that it launched in 2004, is not nearly the clear winner in this race.

To Yelp's credit, this exists on the reviews site to some extent -- in the form of URLs to other sites with the  menus. Additionally, many users often include menu items in their reviews and/or photos.

However, if Yelp included actual menus and/or a listing of services on their profile pages, there might not be any other reason to visit another site for referrals before heading out the door (or from anywhere on your smartphone). Yelp already has reviews, check-in features and discounts.

Could this be the only key that Yelp is missing?

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