Yelp Hopes Its New Feature Helps Users Avoid Discrimination in Restaurants
Yelp has been all about making the best restaurants easier for hungry people to find, whether that’s by posting hygiene grades in restaurant listings, or as the company announced today, adding a new “attribute” that allows businesses to be categorized as “open to all…regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
The open to all feature will live alongside all the other practical info you need to know before eating in a restaurant: Does it accept cash? Yes. Does it deliver? Yes. Is it open to all? Hopefully, yes.
In a statement from the company, Yelp wrote that the new feature was added to the website in order to “build awareness and understanding of the importance of nondiscrimination laws and defend the bedrock principle that when businesses open their doors to the public, they should be Open to All.”
Yelp specifically called out the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in its explanation for why it added the open to all rating, writing that the company hopes the campaign will “help protect consumers from discrimination.” It can also help potential diners decide if they want to eat at restaurants which have chosen to take a step toward becoming inclusive. It would make one wonder why a restaurant that isn't marked as open to all has decided to opt out of the feature.
Restaurants have to self-identify as open to all on the website, but Yelp reports that several have already stepped up to the plate. Hopefully, every single restaurant on Yelp will eventually join the campaign. While the new feature is certainly just one small step in making everyone, from every background, feel safe and welcome when eating out, it signals that some corporations want to be part of the solution.