Yelp (NYSE: YELP)announced Tuesday in a blog post that it will be providing hygiene scores for restaurants nationwide on its platform. The rollout will initially only cover restaurants in New York, California, Texas, Illinois, and Washington, DC, but will gradually expand its features to more areas over the upcoming months.
Health inspection reports have been a regular occurrence for decades and is publicly accessible for citizens on government websites, but they are often difficult and inconvenient to find. Luther Lowe, Senior Vice President at Yelp, hopes to change this by including hygiene scores on restaurant pages.
“When we launched the LIVES program in 2013, our goal was to increase access to this critical information by working directly with local health departments to bring this data onto Yelp and putting it in front of consumers while they are making a decision about where to eat their next meal. Today, we are thrilled to announce that we are taking our LIVES program national,” he said in the blog post.
The LIVES program, or Local Inspector Value-entry Specification, is an open data standard that allows cities to post hygiene inspection reports on the platform. It was initially launched in 2013 for San Francisco before expanding to more cities this Tuesday. However, not every city has provided information and the process can take a long time. To expedite this process, Yelp uses supplementary data from HDScores, a startup that aggregates, processes, and distributes restaurant inspection data from public and private sources.
With the expansion of LIVES, the Company looks to reduce the number of hospitalizations due to foodborne illness by increasing exposure to restaurant hygiene.
“As we continue to grow the LIVES program on Yelp, we hope to see positive effects both on the restaurant industry and for consumers by making this data available where millions of people are already coming to find information on local businesses,” said Lowe.