Jeremy Julian

Transcript: 160. Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast Yelp Ep. 160

December 8, 2022

Thu, Dec 8, 2022 . 6:34 AM


Owner: Jeremy Julian


consumers, reviews, people, yelp, business owners, business, restaurant, important, hear, diners, emily, reviewer, online, yelp page, reply, oftentimes, restaurant tours, respond, users, page


This is the restaurant technology guys podcast, helping you run your restaurant better. Welcome back to the restaurant technology guys podcast. I think our audience out there for joining us, it’s been fun to continue to put out these podcasts. And as longtime listeners know, it’s been primarily me interviewing some really cool guests. And I’ve gotten some fantastic feedback in the last couple of trade shows from people that walk up and and say, oh, yeah, I really learned something from this. And so the other piece is for any of those longtime listeners or those those, those people that do subscribe and give me feedback, I oftentimes learn something new and I have a feeling today is not going to be a whole lot different. Today we are joined by one of the biggest I would say one of the biggest technology companies that’s been around for quite some time. We’ve got Yelp on the on the line here and I’ve got Emily from Yelp. So and we wanted to introduce yourself to our audience on a little bit about who Yelp is for those that might have been living under a rock for the last 20 years and what you get a chance to do for the for the team over at Yelp. Absolutely. Jeremy,

thanks so much for having me. My name is Emily wash Kovac, and I’m Yelp small business expert. yelps main goal is to connect people with great local businesses. And that’s been our mission since 2004. I always tell people, of course, we eat three times a day, we hopefully only need to get our car fixed or our plumbing work done ever so often. So a lot of people think of us as a place to find a great place to eat. And because of that, it’s also become a place where restaurant owners can reflect who they are, they can share what their specials are, they can really get in touch with customers and play a proactive role in their online presence. My job at Yelp started back in 2014. So I’ve been around for a while I’m a bit of a Yelp dinosaur. And back in the day, I was selling ads to business owners, calling them up giving them a little bit more information about what they can do for free on our platform, and then seeing if any of our paid products were made for them. I transitioned in 2016, over to the communication side of the business, where I was strictly educating business owners on the free tools available to make the most of their presence on our site. I had an opportunity in 2017 to just focus on restaurant tours in San Francisco, and really try to build community with those folks. It was a great learning experience for me. And since then I’ve been fortunate to interact with hundreds, if not 1000s of restaurant owners all around the country, everything from the guy selling tacos out of a truck, to fine dining steak restaurants in some of the biggest markets across the country. So I’ve had a ton of experience hearing firsthand from business owners what they do to stay in touch digitally. And because of that, I’ve kind of honed my craft to help restaurant tours and other businesses, figure out how to reflect themselves online represent themselves and really maximize that online landscape that a lot of their diners are going to when they’re looking for a place to eat.

I love it. I love it. And I probably should have gone before we jumped on because I had said to Emily in our pre show, I am an avid Yelp user, I travel a lot for those that are on the podcasts that are listening to podcasts, they know that I’m constantly in different cities. And so for me, I am a bit of a foodie and I love using Yelp to you know, and I had a friend that you sir, I had a young lady that was used to work with me that she taught me how to use as a consumer Yelp and use some of the tips to make sure that you order the right food at some of these restaurants. And so I’m sure we’ll get into some of those pieces as we continue our conversation. And again, we hit choked about, you know, you joked about you being a Yelp dinosaur, you’ve been there in a tech tech firm for eight years. That’s a long time. You know, that doesn’t happen very often in a high tech tech world. But Yelp was one of the first if not the first review site that really kind of focused on helping consumers get get the word out about those things. And so I’m sure there’ll be a ton of insight. And I’m also certain because I know we’ve got lots of restaurant tours in common that we talked to, some do it really, really well. And some don’t do it so well. So hopefully, our audience out there can can learn some things. I know that there’s tons of bad press about Yelp, there’s tons of good press about Yelp. And so I’m gonna, I guess you threw it out in in your intro Emily. Yelp has had a good name in certain circles has had a bad name in certain circles. Why don’t we start with the good name and where you see Yelp really helping small businesses, you get a chance to talk with small business owners. And I can think specifically about one of this. There was a Mediterranean restaurant around the corner, and he responded to every single review every single one, and he would respond and start a conversation in the Yelp platforms. Talk to me a little bit about what that looks like because I’m guessing those that haven’t taken it on or have ignored it are struggling to kind of figure out what does that look like what does online engagement look like from Yelp? It doesn’t look like a Facebook post, it doesn’t look like a, you know, there’s something about that that unique experience for people that trust Yelp to get their data, that they might post something and they’re expecting to start a relationship, they’re expecting to start a conversation. Talk to me about those small business owners that you work with that are doing it well. And then we’ll kind of transition to some of the people that may be struggling a little bit and help our audience get a little bit better about that.

Absolutely. So I think the businesses that are using Yelp, the best are the ones that are simply engaging, there’s a lot of fear around what people might say about your business online. And that prevents a lot of people from even just being a part of the conversation. So the business owners and particularly restaurant tours that are doing it best, have already logged in, they’ve filled out all of their about the business information. And like you mentioned, it’s not a social site. So they don’t need to plan a post for multiple times a week, they need to just get the basic information up there. And then we’re talking about restaurants, I mean, having a photo of every dish, labeled with how the dish is labeled on your menu is so crucial. Think about the diners that come to your establishment, most of them probably already know what they’re gonna eat, before they even come through the door. My boyfriend is like that a ton of my friends are like that, they look online, and they want to get a sense of what the experience will be like, all the way down to what they’re going to order. And so businesses that are successful, are the ones who have logged in, they filled everything out. And then they even have those alerts or notifications turned on. So they can see when a consumer does an action on the page. And that’s not just for Yelp, right, that’s with Google, that’s with Facebook, any of these places that consumers might be searching for your business name, you want to make sure that you’re claimed and have your basic information outlined. The other thing that business owners who leverage up to their advantage really do is pull learnings and insights from all of their reviews. So having a strategy and a plan for when you get a critical review is great, it’s important. But only looking at your reviews for the criticism is a huge missed opportunity, when it comes to all the things your customers love about you. So I recommend that businesses read every review, and honestly track it. What is the positive review telling you that you do really well? What is the negative review telling you maybe missed the mark? And where can you glean insights from the people who are spending money at your business?

I love it. I love it. And you threw some stuff out there that I’m guessing some of our audience might struggle to understand as it relates to claiming your business. But tell me more about what what is claiming your business? What does it mean to put your you know, I know, we I’ve done it, and I’ve helped people through it. But But I think that even that, look, why have a website, just just go to my website, but like, you know, and you know, we’re you and I are on video, and you’re kind of like you’re rolling your eyes and going Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Like, tell me more about what is claiming your business look like? And how, what does that do for not only the technology of the logarithm, but what does it do for the consumer? As you start to do that, and I’ll, I’ll give it a little bit of preview, because we’ve had guests on the on the on the show before that talk about websites with talking about website traffic. Oftentimes, these social media sites or these, these review sites are your front door to your consumer. And so they need to know who you are, what can they expect. And so, while I’m throwing it up on a tee for you, I’d love for you to talk a little bit more about what is claiming it look like, what is what is that hole? Not only that process, but why is it so important to make sure that people know that you happen to be a Lebanese food, and you happen to be only open, you know, Monday through Thursday, you know, till eight o’clock or whatever those things may be because discovering who this brand is and engaging with them. You know, I’ll let you take it from there. But I do think it’s super critical for our listeners to understand that they have to have that claimed and they have to have, they have to know that they’re the business owner and and put their best foot forward for consumers that are looking for you.

Yeah, so I like what you said about your review site being one of the first doors that someone might go through when they hear about your business. And honestly, I would encourage everyone who’s listening if you’re in front of a computer, or even your phone, do a Google search for the type of food you offer in the city or in or do a Google search for the name your business. I would guarantee that below those paid results. Yelp is going to be one of the top three to five natural results almost every single time. And so remember that consumers are getting directed there. Whether you want them to look at your website or your Instagram or whatever the case may be first, the internet is funneling them to the place that most people look and most people search on Yelp. So claiming It is extremely important. And I’ll preface this by saying, if you are the owner, and this feels overwhelming, maybe you’re not the person to do it, which is okay. Maybe your spouse, or maybe you have a kid who’s really great with technology, or maybe your hostess needs a little something to do in between shifts, aside from rolling silverware, let someone help you, it does not have to be you. However, there’s a lot of value in you having a hand and what’s been said online. So claiming, and starts by going to We also have a mobile app specifically for business owners. So if you search Yelp biz, you’ll get that separate app, it’s blue, instead of the red Yelp app you normally see. Claiming is as simple as putting in an email and creating your password. Some of you may have claimed your page years ago, before the pandemic even and that’s like eons ago at this race. Right? Oh, my gosh, incredible. Yeah, it’s incredibly important to have that be recent, right? So reclaim that page if you haven’t been in there in a while. And honestly, when you first log in, what you see is a graph with a toolbar on the left hand side, the graph has so many insights for you, up to two years of data, showing you how many people looked at the Yelp page, did they map directions did they call you. And so that’s important information for an operator to know. And when you spend the time to fill out your profile or complete your profile, you should hopefully see those numbers increase. And that’s not even using paid product yet. That’s just talking about filling out your about the business section, your specialties adding photos with captions. And now some of you might be thinking, Oh, sounds like so much work. I already have reviews, everyone already says who I am and what I do. But the keywords and phrases that you include in that about section in your photo captions, those help you appear in search results. Now, it’s not like Google AdWords, okay, I don’t want you just separating a bunch of keywords by commas, I want you to write in sentence form. But you probably already have this information, right? It’s on your website, it’s on your Instagram. So don’t recreate the wheel, fill it out, and then realize that you don’t need to be going in there all of the time, unless something changes with your business. The last thing I want to point out, particularly for my restaurant owners, is categories. Okay? Let’s say you serve Italian food, and you also have a bar with TVs. Italian is an important category for you. Of course, that’s your main cuisine style, right. But sportsbar is a type of consumer that you can serve still, right? So having multiple categories, you can have up to three, that illustrate the different consumers or diners you serve, can be really important and impactful. If you have a catering business, for example, that’s a separate category that you want on your restaurant business page. So that profile is in completeness is important because when someone searches on the web, in general, Yelp is going to be a very high result. And if all that’s on your Yelp page is what your customers have said about you, that leaves a chunk of information that might be inaccurate, right, it doesn’t tell from your perspective, what’s most important about you. And so that’s why the claiming is so valuable. The other thing that I would say is, every time someone comes to you in person to give you feedback about your business, you probably want to hear it. And you also care about how you come across when you reply. Some business owners and particularly restaurant tours, they don’t feel that same way about an online interaction from a customer. They feel like it’s unfair that it came digitally instead of face to face. And I need you to move beyond that perspective. Because on your Yelp page, how you choose to reply and respond is reflective of who you are and your customer service practices. So the claiming is about setting up the information and then being engaged in a proactive way. So you’re not always on your heels, and you’re not always reacting.

Well, and I’d love to talk a little bit about him. And I promised our audience that we would talk about those that are struggling to do it. And I think that what I’ve heard from restaurant tours and what I’ve heard, and I’m sure that you’ll echo this is that that you’ve got keyboard warrior consumers that are going to blast you digitally, but they would never say it to your face. That is probably the biggest thing that I hear from restaurant tours as it relates to our online review sites is, you know, I happen to use Glassdoor to monitor my own perception of me not not At restaurant technology guys put my my day job that I do day in and day out. And it hurts when you hear those things, and then you figure out who it actually is. And you ask the question, and it’s not really that bad, but it came off pretty poorly. And so I think oftentimes to your point on those that struggle with it is they, they, they they’re combative, rather than inquisitive as it relates to those that are struggling, talk to me a little bit more about how you would recommend those that are already past this, this point of they’ve got the business app, they’re starting to engage, but and we’ve all been on, on those review sites where you can see that they’re trying to start a fight, whether it’s the consumer, or it’s the business owner, versus those that come with their handout and say, you know, what, if somebody walked up to me at the host hand and said, Susie really sucked at serving me tonight, I would take that feedback, and I would do that, but oftentimes, Suzy might be my niece, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna combat you. Because I was really nasty online. Talk to me a little bit more about, about both what Yelp would recommend and kind of how you see people struggling, when it comes to online communication versus in person communication, and, and how, how even Yelp would might recommend people consider that because I think that’s where some of those some of those restaurant tours that are struggling, have some challenges. And and me even as a consumer, it’s turned me off from certain businesses when I see people doing that, and I’m sure you guys have some statistics around that.

Absolutely. So the first thing is the misconception or misunderstanding about online content, right. So you even mentioned it, the keyboard warriors. I hear business owners use that term all the time. And we all know who those people are, right? We’ve all seen it. Yep. But the thing is, um, Yelp in particular, it’s overwhelmingly positive, over 75% of our reviews are neutral to positive. And there’s more five star reviews than one, two and three combined. Wow. So that’s important, right? Important. The critical is personal, I get that, okay. My partner owns his own business. My dad owns his own business, I have had conversations ad nauseam about critical reviews and how frustrating they are. But we need to remember that consumers are smart, they can identify outliers, right? Those negative nancies. We’ve all seen them. But also sometimes a critical review works to your advantage. And let me drill down on that a little further. There’s been a lot of studies done that show a four star page four and a half, sometimes even three and a half star page over performs a five star page, depending on quantity contacts, right there’s, there’s more that goes into a consumers decision than just perfect five stars. And the critical review can do two things often. One, it can highlight who you are in a light that you like, let me give you an example. I used to work with the owner of a tapas restaurant in the Bay Area. He was a businessman, he had never really been in the restaurant world. So he was functioning from that perspective, he hired people who knew the restaurant world. When they opened, they had a menu item that was three jumbo meatballs for $15. They changed it after a couple of months to ala carte meatballs $5 ahead, same price, right? They start getting this feedback in a couple of reviews about the meatballs being so expensive, change it back to three for 15 don’t hear that anymore. That’s just a weird consumer perspective thing that they were able to pick up on. But they’re a farm to table restaurant. Some people just think they’re expensive period. When they get those types of reviews, they respond strategically and point out that they’re farm to table. What does that critical review now do for them? It turns away all the diners who don’t want to pay a farm to table price, right. And it also illuminates to all the people who are there hope they’re you know, dying or that they’re looking for who they are, it really enforces their identity. So I always want business owners to stop thinking of a one star review as horrible gonna ruin my score gonna make people not want to come here and think of it as an opportunity to show up, reflect who you are as a business simply by responding. And that public response goes such a long way because it shows everyone else that you did respond. But it also doesn’t need to get into a back and forth with the reviewer. So when you reply, you’re not even really replying for that person. You’re going to thank them for sharing their feedback, maybe mentioned something that they mentioned, but then take that conversation off line and really sold it in a different avenue than the public forum. Something you had mentioned really caught my ear. You said something about when business owners get upset about critical reviews, a lot of the times, it’s because they feel like that person would have never told them in person. And that’s true. That is true. However, we need to remember and actually a chef told me this years ago, the people who don’t tell you in person, but had a bad experience, are still gonna go tell all their friends and family and colleagues. So if they write that negative review online, that is a good thing from the perspective of It’s a chance to turn it around. And something else that a chef once told me is, the one star reviewers are sometimes the ones who turn into the biggest advocates and fans. Absolutely. If you can get in touch, if you can turn it around. And if you can humanize what happened. I just want to say one last thing on this topic, Jeremy. In the past two and a half years or so, we know it’s been very hard on the restaurant industry. And we know that diners have not always been on their best behavior in those instances, right? Very common.

They’re not tired and cranky, they expect the same service that they had before prices have gone up, labor has gone up more expensive, it’s been harder to get. People aren’t willing to show up to work or restaurant job because they can they can go order on Uber Eats or DoorDash and get it you know, yes, no, it’s been brutal. I mean, I can’t even imagine operating a restaurant. I love that you’re coming coming down to this because I do think that there’s gonna be some interesting take from this belly. Keep going. Sorry about that. No, no,

I think it’s great to kind of dialogue about all of the things impacting the consumer experience, right? I mean, everything. Everything really impacts it. However, we are starting to shift into a space where the consumers who advocate for local businesses the most, the most avid reviewers, the most avid photo sharers, they’ve started to say enough is enough. This is how you act. This is how you highlight if something went wrong. And so as a business, you can play a role in that by taking the high road when you reply, and really, it puts that consumer out in the light for other consumers to see.

And not in an uncomfortable way, but in a professional way, because I’ve seen and you and I both have seen it, where they just blast them. Oh, you’re you know, you came in and you were this and you were that and you were so rude to our staff, and I don’t ever want to see you again, versus I’m sorry that you had this bad experience. And unfortunately, I’m sorry, we missed your expectations. And you leave it, you know, and there’s two ways to respond to that same consumer that you might have had a crappy experience with on a Friday night, when you were understaffed, and three people called out sick. So sorry, I just, but there’s ways you can respond to them. And the truth is, is is not only the consumers, I think oftentimes business owners probably wouldn’t respond to people in person, the way that they’re willing to respond on Yelp, or on Facebook or on Google reviews, which is a shame, because they also turn into keyboard warriors, and they start to blast these people, rather than turning it into a conversation where you can say, help me understand so that I can get better. So sorry, I’ll give it back to you. But yeah, I think it’s, I think it’s funny how we behaved from time to time, because I just, it’s unfortunate.

I’ll never forget, a couple of years back, there was an owner of a pizza shop in New York, who was upset about review, to the extent that he looked up the diners information from a delivery and showed up there. I remember hearing about this. Oh, yeah, cuz it made the news. It was like huge, right? I want everyone to think about that. And think about how your emotion can take over if you’re not careful. But you would never behave that way in your establishment. I know you would it because so many of you opened to provide a great consumer experience. And so you know, you got to cool down, you got to cool off, you got to pull someone else in to help if you are too emotional. That’s important, Jeremy, like, our emotions too high, now’s not the time to reply. This is a different industry. But the the rule is the same. When someone writes a negative review for a home provider, a plumber or a roofer, whatever. And they say something about how horrible the communication was, and the way they were treated, etc, etc. And then the business owner gets on there and start screaming at them. It’s like, well, now we believe the reviewer, right? You’ve just validated everything the reviewer said. And so think of that with the restaurant responses as well. Maybe the dish was made exactly the way you intended, and the consumer didn’t like the taste of it. Take that professional approach in your response. Instead of just being defensive. They didn’t like our menu item. And at the end of the day, I mean, I cannot stress enough. There’s nothing worse than a negative review with no response because then that reviewer is to maybe be believed.

Yeah, yep. Well, and I think that that’s, that’s really, I’ve got really two more threads that I want to get through before we wrap up for the day. And I think it’s kind of on that on, you know, on that line, Emily. So the first of which is, is I know that Yelp has kind of the super users, you talked about the super users. And this is not for the business owner, but it is for them to understand because I as a consumer, and I’m sure everybody else that uses Yelp on a regular basis, uses those people that are the elite status members. And they validate their reviews more so than others, because they are very proficient on the tool, and they do a lot of reviews. Talk to me a little bit about what that means. And, and, you know, the thing I can’t stop thinking about when we’re talking about this, this elite user is that the movie Ratatouille and the you know, the guy that comes in, and they gotta go solve the, you know, this, this, you know, and we’ve all talked about the expert reviewers that are from the New York Times, and you know, whatever, New York, New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal, or whatnot, oftentimes now in a digital world, you don’t necessarily have to become a food critic in order to become a food critic. And so talk to me a little bit about where you should value those things. Because I think as business owners understanding that the elite members, when they have a good experience or a bad experience, it can swing consumer behavior, even more so than the standard user that might have, you know, five one star reviews, and the only time they ever get on Yelp is to blast a business.

Yeah. So I think the biggest thing to point out is less than 1% of Yelp users actually generate review content, right? Most of us are searching. We’re not sitting at home writing about places we love. And so as a business, want to look at those elite users as a positive. I know restaurant owners feel like, why are they entitled to their opinion on my food? Well, I’ll tell you why they’re entitled they spent money at your establishment. So don’t you want to hear what they think. And granted, I get it, you’d much prefer they come to you then go online, if it’s critical, right. But the elite users are the ones powering the fact that Yelp is predominantly positive, right? These people are people that love local businesses, they want to shine a light on the new place, they want to remind people of their favorite gem that’s been, you know, open for 20 years, these people are the biggest advocates for your local community and what you’re trying to offer. So looking at it from that perspective, now, what I would tell a business owner is treat everyone like an elite, they’re, they’re an elite diner to you, right? They’ve walked through your doors. And so I try to remind restaurant tours and business owners that the most positive reviews are always about the experience, the great customer service, et cetera. And so creating that experience in the four walls of your establishment is ultimately what’s going to impact that online reputation. But replying and engaging with these elite users is also a huge benefit to you, right? These can become bigger advocates for your brand. These are also probably the people that would love to come back. And we’d probably update and share about another experience if they tried different dishes. So as a business owner, you don’t necessarily want to prioritize those consumers over your other ones. But it’s worth your time to reply to all of them. And it’s good to see what you know, they’re saying, I think that is the biggest hurdle for chefs in particular and restaurants to get over is this difference between a food reviewer and your average consumer? Yeah. On my show, I interview business owners all about reviews, right. And then we also have a consumer on that wrote them a Yelp review. So we kind of get both sides of that coin. And the business owners that oftentimes zone in on their opinions valid because they spent $1. Those are the ones that succeed the most, because they don’t look at the critical as an attack. They look at it as insights and as a learning opportunity. That’s exactly right. And so I think to your point about the elites, I mean, the elites are the people who are on your side, in my opinion, they are the overwhelmingly positive folks who want to shine a light on great local spots, and they are probably more inclined to even come to you directly. I’ll be honest, you know, it is the I wrote two reviews and they’re always negative people that are kind of skewing in that direction of of just straight up negativity all the time. So I want to round it out by saying stop looking at online reviewers as people who think that they’re foodies and food reviewers and just look at them as paying customers who have a right to an opinion about what you’re doing. And ultimately are only sharing feedback with the help of hoping, helping you pardon me. A vast majority of people who write critical reviews are not trying to attack their business. They’re writing about something that happened to them and an expectation that was missed.

I love it. I love it. And I would encourage everyone I know, we’ve talked to you know, we’ve, we’ve come around a lot of different areas to business owners. But I do think that this is an opportunity to learn and to grow, you and I talked to pre show about a restaurant that close around the corner from my house, disappointed, bummed. I actually liked the food, I thought they did a great job, they had some rough service. And as I was going into Yelp to tell them that this business had closed, I went and looked through the reviews. And for the last nine months, they’ve gotten beat up about service. And, and the food was fantastic. But the service was bad. Clearly, they were not using some of the same tactics of understanding what the consumers are saying and responding to it, they may have seen it and said, I can’t get staff or I don’t care, or I don’t want to invest in it. That’s their option, and the consumers dollars are going to, to, you know, get on hold true. And at the same time, they could have responded to the service issues. Because when I told my wife that that restaurant closed, because there wasn’t such great food, but the service was always terrible. And we’d come in and we try and go before we’re going to the kids ballgame, and we would get stuck there. And we’d have to ask for our check or ask for, you know, and it was just it was bad. And so you know, and we’ve all had those experiences, both bad and good. And so it’s not about this restaurant, as much as it is they had an opportunity to learn, and to grow, and to get better. So I’m gonna let you kind of talk a little bit about what are those tools. So we’ve claimed our page, we know who we are, we’ve got the business app in there. Now talk to me about the tools that we should be using. And let’s let the audience know that it’s not something that’s going to take you 20 hours a week, 30 hours a week, 40 hours a week, it’s something you can do throughout your day, you can sit down for 30 minutes in the morning before your shift, and just see what’s up there. Or you can just do it in batch do it. You know, I know that it’s not as overwhelming as most people make it out to be. Even if you’re not a technologist, if you can send a text message, you can understand the Yelp reviews and respond to them. So I’ll let you take it away and just tell our business owners that are out there that aren’t doing a lot of these things. That after they’ve claimed it, what other things do they need to be doing?

Yeah, so the claiming and the profile, completeness is the most important, it’s the basics, right. And I think that’s a 30 minute job, you have all of this data already somewhere, you’re just inserting it into Yelp. Now, the next step is obviously paid products, if that is kind of where you’re at in terms of growth and wanting to get in front of more diners. That’s the next step. yelps cost per click advertising is very easy to understand. It’s similar to a Google a Facebook, etc, you’re going to pick a click budget, and that’s going to help your listing run above number one, and on competitor restaurant pages when people are searching for what you do. So just getting more eyeballs to your page, right? You’re only paying for those run ads when someone clicks on you. So very similar to any online ad program where you’re working to get visibility, and you’re able to see when someone has that ranked spot as something that they want to click through to. Now we also have profile enhancements, which restaurants use a lot. And it makes sense why it gives you power over your photos. So you get to choose the order, you get to choose your primary photo, which you know, shows up in search results next to your name, you get to remove those competitors from your page, you get a call to action button. So if you want to link through to an order now, or reservations, anything like that, you can get that optimization to how your profile looks, and essentially turn a viewer into a diner faster, right? Yelp Connect is a really cool product that was launched for restaurants, but now it’s used by many industries. And I want you to think of that as the more social media side of Yelp, if you will. So connect is posts. Every single restaurant on Yelp already has quote unquote followers, which are essentially people who have visited their Yelp page bookmarked it live in the area, things of that nature. So when you do a connect post, maybe it’s promoting a special or a menu offering that gets sent into the inbox of your followers, and it also gets posted on the front end of your Yelp page. So just a really great way to highlight things that are important to you. And then honestly, the other stuff that happens on your page happens because of the user generated content. So popular dishes is an example, that’s going to just be pulled based on what users are uploading to your page. But that’s a really important feature when you’re a restaurant, right? So keep an eye on those popular dishes. The other thing I should point out that is free is the attributes. So when you’re in the business information section, and you’re filling out, you know who you are, there’s attributes such as outdoor dining, friendly for kids, lots of these items that you might learn in groups.

Sorry, I, I’m thinking about how I’ve used them. I, longtime listeners know, I have four children. And so I oftentimes want to go look at places that are good for kids. But when I was traveling with the baseball team, I was searching Yelp, looking for places that had large dining rooms, so that I could have, you know, a party of 40 show up and not have a bad experience. Sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off. But But I think that these are incredible for businesses to help consumers understand that don’t know your business. Understand that these attributes, and all of the things that are on your Yelp page, are helping people that either know your business, but don’t know the changes that are going on within your business menu changes our changes, you know, the fact that you’re now offering delivery, the fact that you’re now offering reservations, all of these kinds of things, or people that are discovering your place for the first time because they’re traveling, or it’s a new restaurant near you, or I’ve been just new to the area, all of those kinds of things. I use it for those exact reasons. And it’s just funny that we’re on because this, obviously, is to try and educate our listeners. But these are the types of things that that those businesses when I was traveling with my son’s baseball team in Florida this summer, I guarantee you they missed opportunities, if they didn’t say good for large parties, and I jumped on Yelp and said, I’m gonna go call this restaurant and figure out can they take a party of 40 on a Thursday night, because I’ve got 40 People from this, these families that are all part of the baseball program. So sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off, Emily. But I think it’s incredible for people to understand the power of putting that data out there. And how the, you know, the the AI, the computer, the logarithm can go find those things and get the consumer matched up with the business that needs it. versus me just, you know, screaming out into the ether Hey, guys, I you know, I’ve got big party, you know, what, you’re only hitting this small local area versus getting consumers that may not have patronize your business, because you didn’t have that that data

updated. Yeah, and I mean, we can relate COVID offerings. That’s a great example. Because in the beginning of the pandemic, you had so many people searching for masks required or curbside pickup or all these things that we had never heard before. And so even now, today, most of us are living in a quote unquote, post pandemic world where we’re kind of acting like it’s not really a thing. But there are still some users searching for those things. So when you’re thinking about your Yelp page, I mentioned this before it, set it and forget it to an extent, right, fill out the basic information, that’s accuracy, and then only change those things when things change in your business. But you need to have the alerts on for things like reviews. And so to your point, Jeremy, I mean, some people search like me, just a Italian food and an area or even just restaurants. But people who have a need open at a certain time, large groups, etc. They’re going to drill down by those things. And if you don’t have them checked or filled out, which is free to do, you’re not going to show up as a relevant option. I think the final thing that I want to just touch on briefly is guest Manager, which is yelps front and back of house software for managing your tables, your diners, everything from a standard reservation system to waitlist, which is really cool people can get on that digital waitlist. But honestly, that’s the gamut, right? Fill out that free page, have your alerts on, be ready to reply to reviews. If you’re looking for more traffic, getting in front of more diners, look at some of those paid features. And then lastly, really making sure that when consumers are interacting with you, you have your ears open listening in a way that’s not always going to be to adapt your business. But to just hear out what people are saying about you in an opportunity to get more in touch with what they’re expecting.

I love it. I love it. And I think that more restaurants could be better off because the consumers are giving you the feedback about what they like and what they don’t like and you got to double down on what they like and fix what they don’t like. And you know if it if it’s consistent, obviously if it’s just one off diner and you got 1000 good reviews about your meatballs and you got one that’s pissed off that they’re $5 apiece. You know, we can probably ignore that one guy. But when you get 10 People saying that it’s too expensive, you know, maybe change your portion sizes, maybe Change your pricing, maybe change what you’re serving. You know, we’ve all watched the Gordon Ramsay or, or Robert Irvine come into restaurants and, and totally, you know, change their menus or change their portion sizes because at the end of the day consumers are telling you that this is what they want or not want. But we’re getting this free data and we’re not using it. The last thing I want to ask you to riff on for a few minutes, and I gave you the preview that this was coming. So we have gotten some some, you know, there’s feedback and some of the bad stuff that people hear about Yelp is that consumers have the power to say bad things. Sometimes when it’s not true. Consumers also have the power to do things that that might not be scrupulous, like posting reviews that maybe they didn’t actually get there. Or I had heard at the local tra show here in Dallas, that there’s some bots that are out there trying to drive your reviews down, talk to me a little bit about how Yelp keeps those things from, you know, I found a frog’s leg and my super, you know, like, these kinds of things happen, and you guys have to respond to him. And I know that early on, you know, 20 years ago when everything started 18 years ago when it started, and we didn’t have all of the systems and processes in place. But I know that you guys have done a lot to get there. So tell our consumers to give them a little bit of confidence that says, if you get that bad reviewer that really wasn’t there or, you know, really didn’t have that bad experience or really didn’t have, you know, these these circumstances, how does Yelp solve that? How does he help protect the business owner, because some people just go, oh, la, la, la, la La, if I just, you know, cover my ears and close my eyes, nobody’s gonna know. And I’m just not going to even care about that stuff, versus the ideas that we’ve talked about. And I’d love to talk a little bit more about that, to give some people some confidence that you guys are doing what you can to protect them.

Yeah, trust and safety is a huge initiative at our company. And we have an entire department dedicated to it. Many of you are probably familiar with our algorithm. That’s that running computer software system that’s constantly running, and checking dozens and dozens of signals to see if reviews are reliable and trustworthy. Everything from what we know about the user, how many reviews they’ve written on Yelp? And also have they done other actions, like Did they check into your business or upload photos with their review, all of those things help determine if the review should be recommended or not. Now, the algorithm is constantly running and changing, which means that reviews can move from recommended to not recommended, or vice versa over time. And that algorithm is working against things like bots, right? I mean, everyone knows that those exist out there. And that is kind of what the standard programming is working against. Right. We also have a human team. And the reason the human team is important, is because people flag content on our site. And that’s essentially our second layer of defense against reviews that are untrue, on trustworthy or written by not real consumers. And so every single review on Yelp, whether you’re looking on the front end as a consumer, or on the back end, as your business owner account, has the ability to flag, it’s that three little ellipses button in the corner. When you drop it down, you have some options, report, review, share, etc. Now, when you click Report review, you’re going to have a drop down there as well for the reason why you’re flagging or reporting the review. Some good reasons that would lead to it being removed, written by an ex employee or a competitor, not a firsthand consumer experience. So you know, I’m writing a review for my grandma’s retirement home saying how much she likes or doesn’t like it, things of that nature. Also, if it is writing and promoting a different business wallets, you know, negatively about yours. Yeah, those are all reasons in our terms of service and content guidelines, something would be removed. So flagging, it sends it to that human team, they will evaluate it against all of our terms of service, and then they will report back to you and let you know if it was removed or not. We do have a secondary flagging process as well. These are humans evaluating content. So same as in your business. It’s up for human error or human interpretation, right? So a secondary flag is available. But the thing that is really most important to understand is Yelp is never going to take a stance on factual disputes, right? Someone describing a scenario with some falsities in it about your business is much better served with you responding to it, right. Taking that proactive role of addressing it, maybe even addressing one item and why it’s different or not accurate for your establishment and then taking it offline. And the reason I always have to circle to that in the end is because even with all of these guidelines in place, and the algorithm working to only recommend the most reliable content, sometimes a consumers perspective is factual. But it is different than what you intended. So in those instances, I believe the review is better to stay on the page with a great business response. And so really, we want to make sure that the site is accurate and fair, we don’t want reviews being written by competitor business owners to drag people down. And on the flip side, we don’t want business owners to be able to bolster their reputation by having friends and family write reviews, or being able to pay their customers for reviews. So the algorithm is working constantly against that. And then our human team is right behind, making sure that we have changes and adaptations as the world of the internet and online reviews change as well.

Yep, yeah, no. And I think back about a, a restaurant that I discovered, I’ve got my youngest six, and when she was only a week or two old, we had just moved to a new town and, and I discovered what is now my favorite pizza place, and really did a great job of asking people on, you know, up at the front counter, if you liked what you had, you know, please post a review on Yelp. If you didn’t like it, please post a review on Yelp. I’d like to know what you think. And now he’s on to his second store. And, and I love his story. And I mean, he’s become a friend now because we’re there way too often. And you can probably tell by my waistline that I eat too much pizza. But that’s a totally different story. That’s that not that is not Yelp related. Well, we have gone like all over the place. But it’s I know, it’s been fantastic. It’s been fun for me to sit in, and share even my own personal experiences with your guyses platform. Because I do, I do use it constantly. I travel a lot. And I use it primarily when I’m there. But even my own my own, I’ve got my little date night little filter when I when I hear of a good restaurant, and I put it in date night so that my wife and I when Hey, we’re gonna go to dinner tonight, we don’t go to the same three places that we would go, I got one of the date night little group and I say, Okay, let’s go try one of these three places. What do you feel like and so, for me, as a consumer, it’s really cool to hear what you guys are already doing, where you guys have continued to modify the platform for listeners out there that either are blown away with all that you guys have and want to learn more or like, you know what, I’m not doing it as well as I could or should tell me tell me where should they go to engage to learn more about these products, the services that you guys offer, so that they can be, you know, the best of your business owners as as they’re listening to this?

Absolutely. So is the most important link to remember, that’s going to be where you log in, that’s going to be where you claim your page. And actually, it’s also a great wealth of information too. So there’s a Resources tab on that landing page, which links out to all of the on demand events we’ve hosted in the past two years of the pandemic, it links you to my podcast behind the review where you can listen to business owners first and talk about how they manage reviews. It also has some product information there and will link you through to our business blog. So is the most important place. And then if you want to talk to someone about restaurant products, in particular, go to That’ll give you an option to fill out your info, someone will get in touch with you, it also just have some high level info about our restaurant products and features. So check that out as well. And then I will share my contact info I’d be happy if people want to connect with me on LinkedIn or send me an email I always tell people, If I don’t know the answer, I can find someone at Yelp who does. So Emily wash COVID on LinkedIn anywhere else, w a s h, c o v i c k. And then for my Yelp email, maybe you can put this in the show notes for folks. Absolutely. It’s Emily RW. So E M I L Y R as in rose w as in, I would be more than more than happy to get you in my inbox. I’ve been presenting on behalf of the company and sharing my email for eight years. So you will not be a stranger in there. And if I don’t have the answer or resource I will certainly connect you to someone at the company who does

well I love it. I love it. And I it’s been fun to sit in and chat through this with you because again as a consumer of the product and watching business owners do it well and do it poorly over the years. It’s been fun to to get into it. I was going to ask if if somebody’s like ah too much too many websites. How do I talk to somebody so I love that you’ve given them the ability to put in their info and get get with somebody on the on that side. Emily, I can’t thank you enough for all of what you’re doing to help restaurant tours. I know that done well. This certainly helps businesses continue to thrive. Part of where this podcast comes from is is I want want people to have the information to be able to make their businesses better every day. And I know that Yelp and, and the team that you work with is doing doing just that. And so, to a restaurant tours out there to our listeners, guys, we love that you guys show up every couple of weeks when I post one of these, if you haven’t already done so, go post a review on your favorite podcast player just so that we can get more people discover what’s going on. We will cross post because Emily’s also invited me on her show. Don’t tell anybody. But I’m pretty excited about that. And so it’ll be fun that will cross post that and you guys will get to hear what I get to say because I’ll be on the other side of the mic, which is always weird for me, because I’m normally the one asking the questions. She’ll be the one asking the questions of me and so we’ll get this stuff out there to you guys. Again, thank you guys for listening. We know that you guys have tons of choices as to how you spend your time and what podcasts you guys subscribe to. So thank you guys very much and make it a great day.

Thanks for listening to the restaurant technology guys podcast. Visit restaurant technology guy’s dot com for tips, Industry Insights and more to help you run your restaurant better

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