Yelp caters to veggie community with new features

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High-maintenance foodies have a new friend in Yelp.

Tuesday, the restaurant and business reviews site introduced an intelligent filter capable of sorting through the site’s vast collection of reviews to pluck out the best venues for some of the most particular eaters: vegetarians (and vegans). Also new is a filter for those looking to find places appreciated by specific age groups.

Referred to as Yelpy Insights by the newly public company, the “Liked by Vegetarians” and “X-Somethings” filters (located in the “Features” section atop search results pages) aren’t your average Yelp search tools. Instead of simple keyword matches, Yelp scours and analyzes millions of reviews to determine venues that are veggie-friendly or age-appropriate.

“Yelpy Insights was actually borne from feedback we had received from vegetarian yelpers … that finding a good place to eat vegetarian food was tricky,” Yelp software engineer Aditya Mukherji explained in a blog post. “By combing through our vast review data, we’re able to pick out folks who share a vegetarian perspective in their reviews and highlight the businesses that they like.”

Why might this matter? Well, for the small but vocal veggie community (I am a member of said group), this alleviates much of the frustration associated with searching for non-veggie eateries that offer tasty, meat-free dishes — because yes, we do like to dine out with friends who eat meat. Of course, it stands to reason that 20-somethings and 40-somethings will have completely different tastes. So, the new filters can help Yelpers find places that are just the right fit. And if Yelp can get better at catering to members’ food preferences, then people will come back more often for additional helpings, which is great for its bottom line.

The vegetarian and age-related Yelpy Insights are available now. Yelp promises to apply the same science and technology to surface places for other groups as well.

Photo credit: catatronic/Flickr


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