Yelp dishes out restaurant inspection data in SF and NY

The business reviews site is serving up health scores to consumers curious about restaurant hygiene.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman at a Business Insider conference. Dan Farber/CNET

Yelp plans to shine a bright light on kitchen conditions with the addition of restaurant hygiene scores.

The scores, imported from city data, are showcased on business pages under the "Health Score" heading and are being rolled out in San Francisco and New York. Review-seekers can click the score to read through an establishment's inspection history and get detailed information on its various violations.

"While ratings and reviews are incredibly powerful ways to guide spending decisions, we're always looking for new ways to supplement the information to provide a better experience for consumers," Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman said today in a blog post.

The Health Score attribute prominently displayed on a business page. Jennifer Van Grove/CNET

Yelp's new metric has the blessing of the White House, which encouraged the business reviews site to create an open standard called the Local Inspector Value-entry Specification, or LIVES for short. The standard, developed in partnership with the technology departments of the cities of San Francisco and New York, makes it possible for other cities to send their hygiene inspection data to Yelp.

"LIVES enables local municipalities to display their hygiene inspection data as a business attribute on Yelp," Stoppleman said.

The hygiene data has major implications for restaurants in the cities where the attribute is on display. It has the power to supersede years of reviews data and alter how consumers decide where to eat. Neat freaks will revel in the extra transparency. Paranoid types may be scared away from visiting their usual haunts.

So far, Yelp's latest endeavor is doing little to help the health of its own business. Investors aren't changing their decision about the company as the stock has remained mostly flat in trading today.

 

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