Better clean up your act! Yelp to add hygiene scores to restaurant reviews

Restaurant recommendation service Yelp will soon add hygiene scores to reviews in several cities.

Yelp’s stock price took a sharp dive after the debut of Facebook’s new search capability, Graph Search, Tuesday. Investors seemed concerned because Graph Search can show you restaurants your friends like, so you can take recommendations from friends rather than strangers. But perhaps with hygiene scores and detailed reviews, Yelp can remain a destination for people looking for places to eat.

The iniative will start with establishments in New York and San Francisco in the next few weeks. After that, it will expand to Chicago, Boston, Philadephia, and potentially other cities.

Examples of places that already have health scores on Yelp include San Francisco’s Royal Ground Coffee and The Cheese Steak Shop.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman explains in a blog post today that the service doesn’t necessarily help Yelp’s finances, but it could have a “positive impact on society”:

Today, we’re excited to join San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee in announcing that restaurant hygiene scores from the City of San Francisco will be imported onto Yelp business pages. This is huge news in itself, but perhaps the bigger news is what we’ve created to enable this new business attribute: a new open data standard — the “Local Inspector Value-entry Specification” or, simply, LIVES.

The LIVES standard was co-developed by Yelp and the technology departments of the cities of San Francisco and New York. The standard was created with the guidance and encouragement of the White House.

LIVES enables local municipalities to display their hygiene inspection data as a business attribute on Yelp. Consumers in SF and NYC will be the first to benefit from this program as it rolls out in the weeks ahead. San Francisco users will be able to click through and view the inspection history of a local establishment.

Public/private partnerships like this don’t necessarily provide a direct contribution to Yelp’s bottom line, but evidence suggests the LIVES open data standard will have a positive impact on society.

Woman covering mouth while eating via Blend Images/Shutterstock


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