Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Senior Eating, Use Yelp For Restaurants

Finding restaurant information online has changed greatly in the last few years. Before it was virtually mandatory for each restaurant to have its own website with the menu available for download on the website.  In 2014, that situation is much changed.

The thing is that most people don't sit at their desktops or laptops looking for restaurants unless they have a lot of time on their hands.  What they do instead is when they are ready to eat out, they open their cellphones or ipads and use an app to find a restaurant.  The major app in finding a restaurant is Yelp! which is a Yahoo app.

A word about apps: all apps are either Android or IOS based.  IOS means Apple uses it for an iPhone, iPad or iPad mini. The Android system is for everything else. We are divided right down the middle in my house. Jim prefers the android system with his Samsung phone-tablet combo and I prefer Apple's IOS on iPad and iPad mini. Either one of us can find the below info using the apps on our respective mobile devices. Fortunately, you can download the app for both IOS and android at the same link here.

The best thing about the Yelp app is that "regular people", i.e. just like you and me, file the reviews on Yelp, not some snooty restaurant reviewer. The vast majority of Yelp users want good food, quick service and an overall pleasant experience.  They are not gourmands and are not looking for the meal of a lifetime.

Let me give you an example of our using Yelp.  My eye center with the Cleveland Clinic is about a fifty minute drive away from us.  We are there most of the morning as I am getting more high tech pictures of my eye.  We leave the eye center around lunch time and are ready for a good lunch out. Additionally, I know we are quite close to Huntington Beach on Lake Erie and I want to see the beach and preferably have a view of it while dining.

On the below presentation, click on each picture and an enlarged version will pop up on your screen.

We open either the cell phone or the ipad, click on the Yelp app and look for restaurants around Huntington Beach which is in Bay Village.  This is what we find after I enter the words "restaurants huntington beach" for the what box and "bay village, ohio" for the where box. Number 1 is Huntington Beach itself on the returns and Number 2 is Vento La Trattoria which overlooks it.

Next I want more specific info on Vento so I click its listing to the left. The view changes to info on that restaurant. It only says "closed" because I did the search today at 8:15am.

Next I want to look at what other "regular people" have said in their reviews. I just scroll down Vento's page until I reach the reviews and then click on this one which interests me.

So we go to eat there and find it about four stars, just like this reviewer did.

There are some other options for me to check.  There is a competing app called Urban Spoon but I personally have much better luck with Yelp. Increasingly, these restaurants also have a listing on Facebook and Twitter.  One day I couldn't find the lunch hours on Yelp for a restaurant so I went over to its Facebook listing and found the hours posted there. Both Facebook and Twitter have apps for your android and IOS mobile devices.

You can find this same info on your desktop or laptop.  Yelp, Urban Spoon, Facebook and Twitter all have web pages available using any browser. But the reality is that most people aren't thinking that far ahead.

Recently we ate out at one of our favorite local places and I noticed that the paper placemat now exhorted us to go onto Yelp and file a review for the restaurant. It then mentioned we could also find it on Facebook and Twitter.  Its website no longer exists and it was never very useful when it did because they were doing it themselves. Compared to creating a website, you only need basic tech skills to enter your restaurant onto Yelp, Facebook and Twitter.

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