Yelp taps Google and Toast
The biggest network you might have forgotten about is leveraging its power in the front of house.
Let’s talk about networks of the surprisingly large variety.
First, Yelp’s network of restaurants, which, when you think about it, is basically all restaurants. What started as a platform for reviews and recommendations has evolved into a unique kind of dual-sided marketplace. It courts consumers with features like reservations and wait lists, and sells restaurants on $299-per-month software that manages tables, takes bookings, and runs the waitlist1.
Second, its audience network. Yelp gets a ton of consumer attention; over 80 million people visit the website and app every month searching for information about local businesses.
Today, Yelp announced its network will get bigger, thanks to an integration with Google that lets people book tables and reserve their spot in line at the 11,000+ restaurants that use its Guest Manager table management software. It’s a tie-in with Google’s search and maps functions, which are quickly becoming the go-to method of discovery for plenty of diners2.
“The way we think about the Google integration is that we’re combining Yelp’s large network with an equally large network in Google. Combined, by a significant margin, it’s the largest consumer network in the U.S.,” Anthony Cross, vice president of restaurant product at Yelp, told me in a recent interview.
That sort of reach is obviously powerful, and Cross is bullish that the network Yelp has is a big differentiator in its competition against the big reservations networks, OpenTable and Resy. (Yelp’s own marketing materials claim its network reaches nine times as many people as OpenTable.)
When Yelp’s guest manager launched in September 2021, I took it as a signal that the reviews company was turning into a restaurant company, turning years of ratings and reviews plus tons of data into a new arm of the business.
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