A recent story in Entrepreneur talked about Yelp’s acquisition of SeatMe, a reservation service based out of San Francisco. According to the article, “SeatMe’s web service lets restaurant owners add an online reservation system to their own site or Facebook page. Its iPad app essentially lets restaurant hosts manage their tables in real-time.”
As stated in Entrepreneur, Yelp acquired SeatMe for its technology and team so it can then develop its own reservation web service under the Yelp brand name. Yelp has also introduced a new service recently that enables restaurants and businesses to make sales directly on their Yelp page.
As a service, Yelp has really impressed me with they way in which they have taken over the online restaurant industry. Their brand recognition far succeeds other similar websites that feature restaurant reviews. I personally have used Yelp on a number of occasions and believe the public interaction and reviews that are published for restaurants are helpful. They have the ability to really sway a decision to eat at a particular place.
The consumer is a very powerful tool and Yelp recognized this years ago. Everyone is a food critic, what better way then to create a website that allows people to comment on their favorite or most dreaded places. Although the web service is great in that it can communicate helpful information to people who are looking to have great food, it can also hinder some restaurants. Some people can maliciously attack a certain business if they so choose, which can result in less traffic and sales for restaurants.
It is great to see Yelp acquiring companies that will help its own business and continue to grow its model moving forward.