Chinese Menu is an app which helps users search for nearby Chinese restaurants. Users can search by address, by state, alphabetically, by store type, and by cuisine. The app seems to farm for data from directory listings, though their listings are not complete. The app offers a little bit of information about the restaurant, such as its address. Chinese Menu also gives users a map to help them find the restaurant of their choice. Some entries do have full menus listed as well, allowing users to decide if the restaurant has anything they want to eat before they commit to trying to eat there.
Chinese Menu was founded by Chinese Restaurant News, a publication that has been around since 1995 to serve the needs of Chinese-speaking restaurant owners. Chinese Menu has added over 46,000 Chinese restaurants to the app since the app’s founding.
Functionally, there is absolutely no difference between Chinese Menu and say, Google Local. The only real difference is that it is focused on Chinese restaurants. Restaurant owners even have to claim their listings the same way they would on Google Local. The menu space is nice, as is the ability to search between full-service style, buffet-style, and takeout, but the app just doesn’t offer enough new information to make it a memorable restaurant search stop. The only real difference is the ability to order Chinese food directly through the site, if (and it’s a big if) the user can locate a restaurant that participates with the service.
The app looks unprofessional. Most of the entries have a knife, fork, and spoon laying across the plate for a photograph. The website is a rather basic white. Ads for a few Chinese restaurants—some of the few with full listings on Chinese Menu—occasionally dot the page. The listings are incomplete in some areas of the country. Unfortunately, Chinese Menu has chosen a style that doesn’t make it look too reputable, and the rather thin information offered on unclaimed listings rather seals the deal.
Users who want to use the search feature don’t have to register. Users who want to order Chinese food online through Chinese Menu will need to register and will have the ability to pay for their food online. Users register either as a diner, restaurateur, or supplier. Diners simply provide a name, an e-mail address, and a password.
There is no cost to use the application. Users do have to pay for any food that they order through the site. Restaurant owners have to pay for any ads they purchase on the site.
Chinese restaurant owners who want to promote their site can at least get a backlink and a citation by signing up with Chinese Menu. Those who live close enough to a participating restaurant to order online might also get some mileage out of it, though the hunt for such a restaurant might get frustrating. For anyone else, the app is virtually useless: they will be better served by going through the local business portal of their favorite search service.