Yelp users will now be able to provide feedback on restaurants’ COVID-19-related health and safety practices, according to a company blog post from this week.
Effective now, Yelp will display if users observed — or did not observe — practices like social distancing and the wearing of masks at restaurants and other businesses. The information will be posted on the business’s Yelp page under a “Health and Safety Measures” heading in the COVID-19 section (see image above).
Yelp says that to ensure the feedback is fair and accurate, several different criteria must be met before COVID-19 safety information can be listed on its page, including:
- Multiple user responses “with consensus from multiple users” on social distancing and mask-wearing
- Responses received within the last 28 days
- Responses from users logged into their Yelp account
For businesses with multiple locations, the user feedback will only be relevant for the location which the reviewing users visited.
To provide feedback, users can either answer survey questions, much as they would when contributing feedback on other aspects of a restaurant, or they can use the “edit” button on the restaurant’s COVID-19 updates section. Yelp will also notify users via push notification when a relevant restaurant has updated its COVID-19 information.
For restaurants and other businesses that want to be a little more proactive and display their COVID-19 safety efforts, Yelp will also now allow them to list whether they have the following services: staff checked for symptoms, contactless and/or disposable menus, heated outdoor seating, covered outdoor seating, indoor dining, private dining, and DIY meal kits.
One of the major points we discussed at last October’s Smart Kitchen Summit was that visualizing cleanliness and safety in restaurants is now “table stakes” for restaurants. Even after a vaccine is widely available, consumers are likely to demand more visual cues about a business’s health and safety practices. So while Yelp’s new feature is a response to a (hopefully) short-term situation, user-generated feedback on these areas will be a standard feature moving forward for most restaurant review platforms.