Review site Yelp has always been useful for determining whether or not a restaurant is any good (not to mention how expensive it is), but thanks to some handy new search features, vegetarians and vegans will now have a much easier time finding restaurants that cater to their dietary needs.
With the help of a new search option called Yelpy Insights, users can now track down joints that have been highly rated for and by vegetarians, and can even filter by age group. This means that a group of twenty-somethings who want to avoid a higher end veg restaurant that caters to a more mature demographic can now do so (and vice versa).
Located in the features toolbar, these search options go beyond your standard filter, and actually analyze reviews to find the best matches, so you’re not simply searching for all vegetarian options — you’re searching for good vegetarian options that meet your criteria.
In order to create these complex searches, Yelp goes beyond just doing a keyword search for “vegetarian.” As the Yelp blog points out, that method is ineffective, because results could potentially include reviews like, “‘I’m a vegetarian and this place is awful’ or ‘I’m so glad I’m not vegetarian, the bacon-wrapped filet mignon was great.’”
Instead, the new tools utilize, well, insights. “Yelpy Insights was actually borne from feedback we had received from vegetarian yelpers…that finding a good place to eat vegetarian food was tricky. By combing through our vast review data, we’re able to pick out folks who share a vegetarian perspective in their reviews and highlight the businesses that they like,” says Yelp software engineer Aditya Mukherji.
Another savvy aspect of the new search feature is that it doesn’t limit results to vegetarian or vegan restaurants, but instead tracks down spots with highly recommended vegetarian food, even if the menus also include meat-based options.
VentureBeat points out that this kind of filtering meets a very real need. As writer Jennifer Van Grove says, “Why might this matter? Well, for the small but vocal veggie community (I am a member of said group), this alleviates much of the frustration associated with searching for non-veggie eateries that offer tasty, meat-free dishes — because yes, we do like to dine out with friends who eat meat.”
These cool new features are available now, and I for one, am excited to try them out. Like Van Grove, I often dine with non-veggies, so this is a great way to explore new eateries with my family and friends.
What do you think? Will you try out these new search options? How do you generally track down the best veg restaurants in a city?
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