Dear Yelp, you could be so much more

Yelp for Business

Dear Yelp,

I am writing to you as a small business owner as well as a loyal foodie using your app to find great places to eat.  I have rated over 100 small businesses, most restaurants.  I manage the digital infrastructure of 2 restaurants in the Bay Area and the Yelp for Business Owner pages.

Everyone has a favorite restaurant, but the owner of that restaurant does not have a way to engage with their most loyal customers even if the customers really want to hear from the restaurant owner.  (There are ways to do private messaging, but that is one on one).  Let’s say my favorite local French restaurant is celebrating their 5th year anniversary and wanted to offer their loyal customers a special dinner, or the restaurant has some new dishes that they want to let their customers know about.

As a restaurant owner, I am able to see an anonymous view of my customers’ activity.   I see ‘someone’ has viewed a map, made a reservation or looked at some photos.  These are valuable connections for me.  I would love to offer these customers a way to connect with my business, if they chose to.  I’m not planning to spam them, I want to engage with them.  The most valuable part of my business is repeat customers.  I want to build up a long term connection with these customers.

Yelp can be so much more. Yelp can be the platform for small businesses to engage with their most loyal customers.  These customers are not just someone who ‘liked’ their page, these are real customers who came to the restaurant.  This is a large missed opportunity for Yelp as a business and a missed opportunity for small businesses who love the Yelp platform.

I’m currently spending about $200 a month on Facebook to reach people who have liked my page.

  • We have about 3,000+ people who have liked the page, I don’t even know if they are customers
  • When I post something on Facebook, they restrict the post to only less than 10% of people who have liked the page
  • I have pay a fee for ‘Boost’ the post to all of the people who have liked the page

Yelp can have all of this $200 a month if

  • You make a new way for my customers to opt in to messages from me
  • You can restrict # of posts per week/month
  • Make it easy for my customers to tell me if my messages as relevant or not
  • Charge me more if my post are not relevant in order to incentivize the right behavior
  • I’ll pay for pageview and click through and engagement, I’ll write a check for $200 / month.
  • I would rather pay you than Facebook because your users are my customers

Thank you

Tony T.  – Owner of I Privé restaurant in Burlingame
(invite me to your hack week, see my resume for  my background.  I don’t want to work for you, just want your product to succeed)