Monday, December 28, 2015

Yelp Reviews Get a New Useful Feature

You may like a Richardson restaurant for its food, but what do you know about its health inspection rating? Probably nothing. Not because Richardson doesn't conduct health inspections of restaurants, but because the city doesn't do much to make the ratings easily accessible to diners. That may be changing.

It's been a pet peeve of mine for years that Richardson promotes local restaurants with its "Dine Smart Dine Local" program, and Richardson publishes restaurant health inspection scores, but the city made no effort to tie the two together. The Wheel complained about it two years ago, and even pointed to a third party solution that promised to be cheaper and more useful than some in-house development by the city's IT department. That was two years ago. Nothing changed.

Little did I know that someone actually listened to me. OK, maybe it was just coincidence, maybe just a case that great minds think alike, but, whatever, kudos to the great mind inside city hall who was open to the idea I promoted two years ago. In any case, what I asked for is now a reality. According to Guide Live, "On Dec. 18, the North Texas suburb became the first city in the Lone Star State to integrate health inspection data for its restaurants into Yelp."

It's a positive first step. I hope even more will eventually be done. "Dine Smart, Dine Local" promotions published by the city and/or Chamber of Commerce should also include this useful information. And dare I hope that someday, restaurants themselves will be required to display their health inspection rating on their front door?