Yelp has started providing online ordering on their website, teaming up with Eat24 and Delivery.com affiliated restaurants. Online users typically visit Yelp to read reviews and find new restaurants, but now they will have the opportunity to order directly from certain restaurants through Yelp Platform.
New Yelp Capabilities
According to Yelp’s announcement, Yelp Platform is available on desktop, iOS and mobile web, and Yelp promises an Android version soon too. We have been able to use it on desktop and iOS but not mobile web so far. At present, Yelp Platform is running through Eat24 and Delivery.com’s already established networks, but only a fraction of Eat24 and Delivery.com restaurants have been added to Yelp Platform.
Yelp’s new online ordering feature is part of Yelp Platform, a system where Yelp can enable customers to connect with businesses directly. Yelp has already built in OpenTable online restaurant reservation so this seems like the next step. They plan on including the ability to schedule appointments at spas or sign up for yoga classes. It is also a sign that Yelp will no longer rely on advertising for revenue, but branch into other online services for restaurants.
Yelp’s Partnerships with Eat24 and Delivery.com
Millions of online users looking for restaurants or researching restaurants go through Yelp, so Yelp is uniquely positioned to grab a chunk of the online ordering world. With these partnerships, Yelp has recruited a substantial number of restaurants for Yelp Platform. Each side is poised to benefit as Yelp doesn’t have to start from scratch, and Eat24 and Delivery.com can tap into the enormous traffic on Yelp. Also, these two major online ordering services are facing an uphill battle against Seamless-Grubhub in restaurant online ordering. Indeed, the Seamless-Grubhub merger threatens to crowd out smaller competitors.
Choosing Eat24 and Delivery.com makes sense for Yelp as together they have a deep nationwide reach of thousands of restaurants. Eat24 and Delivery.com will likely be able to sign up new restaurants once they realize that they are partnered with Yelp. The question for the future is will Yelp leave out the middlemen or buy one or both of the online ordering services. Either way, competitors to Grubhub-Seamless are preparing for a more consolidated market.
As you can see, the Delivery.com and Eat24 layouts are slightly different. Overall, the appearance of the interface resembles what it looks like on Delivery.com or Eat24’s respective websites. Yelp hosts Delivery.com and Eat24 in the same way as it does online menu publishers such as Locu and Singleplatform. Yelp has added features and functionalities through partnerships, increasing the power of their website without actually creating new products.
The effect on the online ordering market for restaurants is unclear. Yelp may work through partnerships or try to go it alone at some point. Yelp also may acquire a major online ordering company like Eat24, even though it may invite accusations of bias. Since Yelp is only carrying a fraction of Eat24 and Delivery.com’s restaurants, it is unlikely that Yelp users will notice the change immediately. Once Yelp implements Yelp Platform on a large scale, it will be more apparent if customer behavior will shift over to Yelp.