How Yelp Is Using Your Food Photos and Artificial Intelligence to Recommend Restaurants

Staff Writer
Yelp is using artificial intelligence to tag and categorize the food photos you post and improve user recommendations
That photo of you eating pizza on a restaurant’s outdoor patio can translate into hard data for Yelp.

Yelp

That photo of you eating pizza on a restaurant’s outdoor patio can translate into hard data for Yelp.

Behind the scenes, Yelp is improving its restaurant listings using your food porn pictures.

With a little bit of help from artificial intelligence, your photos posted on social media and on the Yelp website are analyzed to improve restaurant listings and recommendations.

That photo you took of you eating soft serve at your local ice cream shop? From that photo alone, the AI can determine whether the ice cream shop has outdoor seating, the ambience, and whether it’s for couples of families. The AI will eventually be able to identify dishes in the photos by analyzing the color, texture, and shapes of the images. The result is photos and restaurant profiles that will be auto-captioned with phrases like, “good for kids, casual and loud atmosphere,” with a percentile accuracy rating.

"It’s game-changing over the next five years," Michael Stoppelman, Yelp’s senior vice president of engineering and brother of CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, told Fast Company. "In the future we’ll be able to detect, ‘Oh, there are burritos,’ which I think is really exciting."

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