Diners seated via Yelp in 2019 grew 150% YoY; waitlist product saved diners more than 13 billion minutes of wait time to date1
Building on product momentum the company introduces new Yelp Waitlist product features
Yelp Inc. (NYSE:YELP), the company that connects people with great local businesses, is announcing strong growth and momentum in its restaurant services offerings, with a record-setting Valentine's Day in which Yelp’s reservation and waitlist software helped seat nearly 250,000 diners via Yelp2, a more than 2X increase YoY. This comes on the heels of the company closing out 2019 by growing diners seated by more than 150% YoY and seating 3.3 million diners via Yelp in December 2019 – the company’s best month ever – as well as seating more than one million diners New Year’s week.3 The company is also announcing new product features for Yelp Waitlist that will make it even easier for diners to get seated at their favorite restaurants.
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Yelp Waitlist now allows diners to choose their seating preference and accommodates parties of six or more (Graphic: Business Wire)
Yelp Reservations and Waitlist are helping to optimize restaurant operations by improving front-of-house efficiency. Yelp's restaurant technology is increasing foot traffic to restaurants, providing more accurate wait times, seating more customers during traditionally slower dining time, and driving return diners by improving the customer experience. Since acquiring NoWait in 2017, Yelp Waitlist has saved diners more than 13 billion minutes of wait time.
"Restaurants today are dealing with more competition than ever to get diners through their front door and keep operating costs low," said Devon Wright, General Manager of Yelp Restaurants Marketplaces. "This is why we're focused on building tailored packages for restaurants of all sizes to meet their individual needs, as well as developing new product features we know restaurants and consumers want. By creating even more value and convenience for both restaurants and consumers we've solidified Yelp as a one-stop-shop for restaurants to increase diner demand and retention, in addition to managing their front-of-house."
Partnering with Popular Restaurants
In an industry with increasing competition and narrow margins, restaurants of all sizes – from local to mid-market restaurants and national chains – have partnered with Yelp to help improve front-of-house efficiency and seat more diners.
- "At Chili's, we never stop exploring how technology can enhance the guest and team member experience both in the restaurant and on-the-go," said Wade Allen, senior vice president and chief digital officer at Brinker International, Inc., owner of the Chili's® Grill & Bar brand. "Yelp Waitlist allows us to dial up the hospitality during peak hours, as well as reach new potential guests as they scroll through Yelp and immediately see if there’s no wait, or jump on our waitlist with one touch."
- "Since launching Yelp Waitlist systemwide several years ago, we’ve been able to improve guest satisfaction, as well as improve our throughput, table turns and guest counts," said Jan Barnett, chief marketing officer for Another Broken Egg Cafe, a national brand serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and hand-crafted cocktails. "Our cafes that use Yelp Waitlist tend to have higher average unit volume than our system average and many of those same cafes are seeing increases in both sales and guest counts. We’ve also successfully reallocated labor hours to better serve our guests, which improves the overall diner experience. Now instead of our guests waiting on us, we’re waiting on them much more efficiently."
- "With Yelp Waitlist we’ve been able to increase our front-of-house efficiency and add additional guests to our busy brunch queue that otherwise would not have wanted to wait for a table," said Kevin Bethyo, managing partner at Wildberry Pancakes & Cafe, a breakfast and lunch cafe with multiple locations in Chicago. "Plus our guests are a lot happier because they can always see their place in line. A win-win from Yelp!"
According to Yelp data, diners seated through the Yelp app return to the same restaurant twice as often as other diners, and 81% of diners say they're more likely to come back to a restaurant with Yelp Waitlist.
Yelp Waitlist Continued Product Innovation
Products like Notify Me, Predictive Wait Times and Connect propelled Yelp’s diner seated growth and set the stage for a promising 2020. Today, the company is announcing new features for Yelp Waitlist, including:
- Waitlist Search Support for Party Size: This new search filter creates an option for users to indicate their party size in their initial waitlist restaurant search. This provides users with even more accurate wait times to help them make a decision about the best restaurant for them.
- Large Party Waitlist: This new option gives users the ability to add tables of more than six to the online waitlist at participating restaurants. This solves a large pain point for both restaurants and diners by ensuring that party sizes are accurately being added to the online Waitlist.
- Notify Me on Android and Web Platforms: Notify Me allows diners to schedule a reminder to join the Yelp Waitlist based on when they want to sit down to eat. After indicating when and where they’d like to eat, a push notification or SMS will be sent to the diner when it’s the best time to hop on the online waitlist to get seated at their desired eating time. Restaurants have found that this new feature helps spread out the influx of customers that would normally arrive at peak and popular dining times. Yelp has seen strong user engagement for Notify Me on iOS, sending nearly 250,000 "time to join the waitlist" requested notifications since December 2019. Today, the company is announcing the release of the feature across Android and web platforms.
All of these new features are rolled into a new Yelp Waitlist user experience that provides more information about diners’ place in line and their next steps to get seated. The new design also includes an option to indicate a preferred seating location — such as bar, booth, or window — when joining the online waitlist at their favorite restaurants.
With the availability and growth of Yelp Reservations and Waitlist, Yelp has become an integral partner to restaurant owners as it evolves from a highly-influential discovery platform to a place where consumers connect and transact directly with businesses.
About Yelp Inc.
Yelp Inc. (www.yelp.com) connects people with great local businesses. With unmatched local business information, photos and review content, Yelp provides a one-stop local platform for consumers to discover, connect and transact with local businesses of all sizes by making it easy to request a quote, join a waitlist, and make a reservation, appointment or purchase. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July 2004. Since then, Yelp has taken root in major metros in more than 30 countries.
1 Measuring total waitlist time for all users from March 1, 2017 to February 14, 2020
2 "Via Yelp" means that diner was sat via the Yelp platform (desktop, m-site, or app) only
3 New Year’s week is defined as December 30, 2019 through January 5, 2020