Head of consumer product Akhil Kuduvalli Ramesh said in an email, “To address the needs of local businesses and consumers during these uncertain, unprecedented times, Yelp introduced new features in two phases. In the first phase, when the pandemic began to greatly affect U.S. businesses, we helped businesses convey how they are updating their operating models and services they offered—this included introducing virtual service offerings, curbside pickup, new Covid-19 -related business highlights and a Covid-19 banner alert that enabled businesses to customize their own message to consumers.”
In the second phase, starting Tuesday, business pages across all categories will be able to share updates on the services being offered, such as whether they are providing dine-in service, in-person visits or virtual service offerings, as well as takeout, delivery or curbside pickup.
Businesses can also update customers on health and safety measures they are following, including social distancing, sanitizing between customers, mandatory masks and/or gloves for staff, available hand sanitizer and contactless payment.
Restaurants using Yelp Waitlist can now provide diners with QR codes to access their Waitlists, giving them a touchless solution and removing the need to make contact with a kiosk.
Restaurants can manually adjust wait-time estimates during unexpected circumstances such as reduced capacity, smaller staff or inclement weather, giving diners more accurate wait-time expectations.
And hosts can set the maximum seating capacity for restaurants, receiving alerts if they approach 90% or exceed the limit.
Curbside pickup is now a search filter on the Yelp application, and Yelp Collections— curated lists of open, relevant businesses, created by Yelp’s community team—were rolled out on its iOS app in select metropolitan areas.
Ramesh added, “In phase two, as people begin to re-enter businesses, addressing the health and safety needs in the local marketplaces across the U.S. is of paramount importance. We are launching a new Covid-19 section on Yelp business pages where businesses can share important information on the types of services they’re providing and, more importantly, the health and safety protocols they’re implementing to keep consumers safe. Separately, we are releasing features for restaurants on Yelp Waitlist aimed at reducing the stress of operating at varying seating capacities. These features will give more control to the business, help them manage wait times, monitor and control their seating capacity and enable consumers to join the waitlist contact-free. We are dedicated to supporting businesses through this crisis and will continue to develop features and products to keep people safe and help businesses reopen.”