Chili’s, other retailers adapt to COVID-19 with Yelp

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Retailers including Chili’s are leveraging features of the Yelp app to communicate with customers and provide needed services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

National restaurant chain Chili’s Grill & Bar has been using the Yelp waitlist feature to help manage curbside takeout orders to ensure both customers and associates are safely social distancing and adhering to shelter-in-place guidelines. Chili’s tracks customers picking up their curbside orders from their vehicle with waitlist, adding “table numbers” on parking spots, to create a seamless curbside experience. 

As shelter-in-place ordinances ease, Chili’s is continuing to use Yelp waitlist to simultaneously manage tables inside and curbside orders in the parking lot, allowing customers to safely wait in their cars for their table to be ready.

To enable restaurants that are pivoting to takeout and delivery, Yelp recently updated its search and home experiences to feature personalized takeout and delivery options for consumers. Restaurants will also soon be able to indicate that they’re offering curbside pickup, and curbside pickup will also be searchable in the local business discovery app. 

Yelp is also rolling out an updated version of its Yelp for Business platform. The upgraded platform includes a more transparent user interface. A new recommendation cards feature provides step-by-step prompts on what users should set up to make their profile as comprehensive as possible. Business owners will find updated “tips” sprinkled throughout the home page that will provide insights to guide them toward the next best steps to reach consumers and enhance their existing profile through ads.

In addition, a new integrated content feed shares relevant information to business owners based on their particular category and industry. At first, business owners will be directed toward COVID-19 related content specifically geared toward helping them get through this time. The platform has been upgraded with a new GraphQL architecture, providing an experience that Yelp says is 30% faster than the previous business owner account.  

“As government leaders across the country begin to map out plans for reopening local economies, we anticipate the needs of consumers and businesses to evolve,” said Akhil Ramesh, head of consumer product, Yelp. “We’re dedicated to listening to the needs of our community of local businesses and consumers as they continue to adapt.”