For a while now, Google My Business and Google Maps have been growing larger and more robust, and has steadily been pushing itself into Yelp’s core value proposition – local business search and reviews.

In order to fight back, Yelp added new capabilities to Yelp Waitlist, allowing diners to join a restaurant waitlist before getting to the physical property. When Google introduced a similar functionality to Wishlist 2019, two years after Yelp, it was more limited to Yelp’s functionality.

But now, Yelp is rolling out the Notify Me feature to Android and the web (which also came out for iPhone last September) which has support for Wishlist. With Notify Me, users will notify uses restaurant wait-time data to alert users to join Yelp Waitlist. When a User provides their party size and desired dining time, they will receive a notification to join the online waitlist. This will differentiate Yelp’s Waitlist from Google’s.

Yelp discussed the feature in its 2019 blog post announcing Notify Me: “Yelp’s in a unique position to deliver accurate wait times for diners because restaurants across the U.S. are using Yelp Waitlist to manage their front-of-house. By using actual wait time data from the restaurant, not your location data, Yelp Waitlist will show you the best times to dine at a restaurant.” The not-so-subtext is: our data is better than Google’s.

Two additional features were also just added to Waitlist:

  • The ability to input a large party (7 or more)
  • Select a seating preference at the restaurant (i.e., first available, indoor, outdoor, bar)

Waitlist is a SaaS product allowing restaurants to manage “the front of the house.” The data that allows Notify Me and predictive wait time to come directly from the restaurant.

Yelp says that “guests will wait 15% longer with Yelp Waitlist” and that it creates more customer loyalty and diner frequency. Waitlist costs $249 per month for restaurants.

Waitlist is a microcosm of Yelp’s larger product strategy:

  • It benefits both consumers and businesses simultaneously
  • It provides subscription revenue (part of Yelp’s effort to generate new and more diverse revenues)
  • It helps differentiate from Google Maps

SourceGreg Sterling