Andria Cheng | Forbes | July 24, 2018
Restaurants and other food service operators with subpar hygiene and health inspection records, take note: Review site Yelp is set to display those scorecards on business pages listed on its platform nationwide.
Yelp, which first began to post such information on some business pages in select markets in 2013, said the rollout will begin Tuesday with some 350,000 restaurants, or 40% of its U.S. restaurant listings. That includes the pages of well-known New York spots like Gramercy Tavern and Katz’s Delicatessen (both are graded A). That number will increase to 750,000 pages in the coming months, Yelp said.
The San Francisco-based company said it collects data from working directly with local governments or from the startup HDScores, which said it has a database of health inspection reports on nearly 1.2 million U.S. restaurants, covering three-quarters of the U.S. population across 42 states.
While consumers can already dig up public health inspection records on, say, local governments’ websites, or see them pasted on store windows, Yelp’s latest move could have a ripple effect on the restaurant industry because mobile-phone-toting consumers often resort to reviews and recommendations on the app before deciding on which local restaurants to go to or order from. In a letter to shareholders in May, Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s CEO and cofounder, said that more than 30 million unique mobile devices accessed the Yelp app on a monthly average basis. Its restaurants listings help drive more than half of traffic to Yelp, he said.