Almost anyone who is a regular restaurant-goer knows about Yelp and has used it a time or two to read reviews before going to the restaurant. Although Yelp is an extremely useful tool providing directions, detailed reviews, photos, and more, it has always lacked one thing — health inspection information.
As Luther Lowe, SVP of Public Policy for Yelp, said, “For decades, cities have regularly inspected restaurants to ensure food safety, providing this information publicly to citizens. Unfortunately, this information is often buried on clunky ‘dot gov’ websites beyond the easy reach of consumers.” Yelpwants to change thisand make it easier for consumers to get this informationbeforethey get to the restaurant.
Yelp launched the LIVES program in 2013, which wascreated in order to“increase access to this critical information by working directly with local health departments to bring this data onto Yelp and putting it in front of consumers while they are making a decision about where to eat their next meal.”
Yesterday, Yelp announced that it will bemaking this program national. Currently, there is health inspection information for a little over 200,000 business pages, but the company claims that this number will triple once all of the new information is added.
Yelp hopes that this will have a positive impact.Lowe said, “We know from a study of the Los Angeles restaurant industry that when consumers have better access to restaurant hygiene scores, the number of hospitalizations due to foodborne illness drops, and best practices improve across the industry.”
He added, “Just this year a different study found that posting restaurant hygiene scores prominently on Yelp leads to a 12% decrease in purchase intentions for restaurants with poor scores relative to those with higher scores.”
It will be interesting to see the effects this new change for Yelp will have on the restaurant industry.