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Has Apple Given Yelp the Upper Hand?

Yelp invaded iPhone with the launch of Apple Maps, the Google maps replacement on the iPhone 5 and the iOS6 upgrade. An iPhone user who looks for a restaurant types the name of the restaurant in the search engine and up pops a flag on a map with the following information: name of the restaurant, average Yelp star, and number of Yelp reviews. Eater wondered if that was too Yelp-forward of Apple and asked for reactions from local restaurant industry people, food writer included. Here's what they had to say.

Kris Browning-Blas, Denver Post Food Editor: "Any time an information provider partners with a single source, it gives that source an advantage. It's another reason to seek out good local journalism."

Kevin Burke, Colt & Gray (as a bartender, who may or may not tend bar at Colt & Gray, definitely not speaking on anyone else's behalf): "I am slightly annoyed that Apple would hitch their horse to a company that is actively fighting a class-action lawsuit for its shady business practices. Then again, birds of a feather. Based on Apple's demographic and early adopters for technology many of them already rely heavily on Yelp when making decisions where to sip their PBRs. At the end of the day I look forward to it. I think it helps me. I do miss the old maps on iOS 5 where it gave pertinent information such as phone numbers, websites, and addresses."

Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson, Chef and Co-Owner at Frasca Food and Wine: "I haven't seen it, but from what I've heard, it sounds as though Apple has decided to put all its stock in Yelp.  I don't pay to much attention to that stuff. I don't have a problem per se with Yelp - I just don't read it. It's all over the board and makes me crazy- just another distraction I don't need."

Stephen McCary, Executive Chef at Mizuna: "I just got the chance to use the map and I like that you can see Yelp. We have good reviews, so it's good for us.  I can imagine using the information if I was hungry and in an unfamiliar part of the country."

Ryan Leinonen, Chef and Owner at Trillium: "I have been fortunate with Yelp but I question the viability of some of the reviews because there is no way to validate that they have ever walked into my restaurant. That said, anything that truly helps my guest is welcome.  It would be great if Apple did some sort of tri-merge review by adding in OpenTable and UrbanSpoon. I mean, you shouldn't form your opinion on which presidential candidate to vote for by watching one television station. A strong choice takes many facets of understanding."

· More Yelping [EDen]


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