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New Yelp Feature Makes Healthy Eating WAY Easier

August 27, 2019

A few months ago, my friend Lauren and I were craving fish and chips. The only problem is that Lauren is gluten-free, and do you know how hard it is to find a gluten-free fish-and-chips restaurant? Trust me, it's a task.

And it's not that gluten-free fish and chips don't exist, either. They do! It's all those other fish and chips restaurants clogging up your search results that make it time-consuming; we had to wade through pages of restaurants and read dozens of reviews before we found one that had a gluten-free option.

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Can you relate to this? If you have any kind of dietary restriction, the answer is probably yes. Luckily, Yelp is looking to solve this problem with a new feature that allows you to adjust your settings based on your individual lifestyle and interests.

Image by Yelp

This is a big step up from the current features, which only tailor recommendations based on your search history. Once you personalize your settings—say you're a gluten-free, diary-free father of two who loves brunch and hiking, for example—your app will only suggest locations and services most relevant to you. This means that when you open your app while standing next to a friend with different preferences, the two of you will have completely different home screens with distinct search results.

The reality is that more than 30 million Americans have a food allergy, and many more have food sensitivities or food groups they avoid for health or ethical reasons. So while it's definitely nice to have activities suggested to you based on your interests and hobbies, the real game-changer in this new feature is being able to filter your results based on your dietary restrictions.

Personalized highlights within your search results will tell you if a restaurant has some (or many!) options that work with your dietary restrictions. Allowing people to "bypass sifting through menu photos and reviews to confirm if a restaurant has options for those who are gluten-free, halal, keto, kosher, pescatarian, vegan, or vegetarian," according to Yelp.

Let's say you're trying the keto diet. You can now adjust your settings so that places with plenty of keto-friendly options will appear and you won't be tempted by photo after photo of high-carb meals; it also means that vegetarians won't have to sort through dozens of BBQ places to find an establishment with a BBQ jackfruit sandwich. And yes, it means easy access to all the gluten-free fish-and-chips establishments in New York City for Lauren and me.

According to the company's news release, personalizing your account will only take a few minutes and is available for iOS users starting today. Just make sure you download the latest version of the app.

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