Yelp restaurant sticker

It’s no secret that running a restaurant is different now than it was 10 years ago. Thanks to advances in technology, your guests have shifted how they get Creepy dude with moneyinformation about your business, and their idea of a perfect meal out changes more frequently than ever before. You want to provide your guests with exactly what they want, but sometimes that can be hard to know for certain – trends and desires change so frequently (and you’re not a mind reader!)

What if you could understand what your guests want out of your menu, before you order the ingredients, and predict what they’ll want in 6 months, before you make your seasonal menu? You can.

Yelp: More Than Reviews

Surely you’ve heard a thing or two about Yelp, right? It’s a powerful deciding factor for consumers and restaurants are no stranger to that with 78% of the seraches on Yelp pertaining to dining choices. But with all of that user-generated content comes power beyond a 5-star review. Over the last 10+ years, Yelp has been able to collect real-time data on consumer preferences.

You can literally guage what your guests want, for free.

How can use Yelp to learn what your guests want from your menu (for no cost)? Well you could take one of three approaches, naturally.

  1. Read The Reviews: Are you seeing a trend in what your reviewers talk about? Multiple mentions of the chicken parm may indicate that you should promote that one more heavily to first-time visitors so that they’ll come back for it.
  2. Respond To Reviews: So you have tons of 5-star reviews with not much insight beneathe it, huh? You can use this as an opporunity to engage with your guests. Ask them what made them give you 5-stars.

But here’s something you may not have thought of before… 

3- Yelp Trends: Your Personal Mindreader

Your guests are using Yelp to find the perfect spot for insert food choice here and if you’re lucky, your restaurant is coming up as a top choice. But thanks to Yelp Trends, it’s not luck anymore… it’s mind reading.

Oh so you can’t read minds? I challenge you to tell me you can’t thanks to your ability to see trends in meu items, beverage choices, eating habits, and even the predictability of future desires. Yelp has a massive wealth of data – generated by your very guests – and with that, they can surface trends and consumer behavior… and you can make a restaurant menu that delivers.

Pro Tips For Using Yelp Trends

Not sure how you’re going to use Yelp Trends? Start here.

  • Search based on geography: Yelp Trends allows you to search using geographic constraints. This means you can search as narrow as your town, and as broad as a major city near by. You can also compare two locations (should your NYC menu be the same as your Boston location?)

Yelp Trends Gluten Boston

Yelp Trends Gluten NYC

Boston and New York… close in location, but perhaps different in menu preferences? 

  • Search based on trends in dining preference: Is frozen yogurt really taking off on the West Coast as a dessert option?
  • Predict when a food or beverage item will take off: Look for trends in food and beverages. Spikes indicate a take-off is happening. Are you noticing a trend in spikes and lulls for craft brew? You may be able to infer when the next spike will be and prepare your tasting menu accordingly.
  • Discover new menu item options: Perhaps you never thought to add artisanal menu items to your offerings before… until Yelp Trends let you know that the desire for them is HUGE in your location.

artisanal LA Yelp Trends

Artisanal Yelp trends

Looks as if sustainable menu items are on the rise on the east coast. 

The possibilities go far beyond what we can talk about in this blog. Yelp Trends has search capabilities in 98 cities throughout 20 countries – your mind reading is limitless.

Tell us: Have you ever used Yelp Trends to uncover menu design ideas? 

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In a perfect world, Theresa would spend her days reading good books and writing all the time... and she'd own all the shoes her heart desired. When she's not on the hunt for shoes, you can find this Rhode Island transplant on the hunt for food that comes close to "Long Island". Her favorite? Caffe Dolce Vita in Providence's historic Federal Hill.