Yelp supports local LGBTQ-owned businesses with new search tool

Yelp supports local LGBTQ-owned businesses with new search tool

La Barbecue Austin
Austin's La Barbecue gets some Pride love from Yelp. La Barbecue/Instagram

Happy Pride Month, Austin! If you’re in search of a way to get in the spirit by supporting local LGBTQ+-owned businesses, Yelp is eager to help.

The crowd-sourced review site recently unveiled its newest attribute, which highlights local LGBTQ+-owned businesses. Additionally, restaurants and nightlife establishments that identify as LGBTQ+-owned or have an Open to All designation will be noted on Yelp with rainbow-colored map pins throughout the month of June.

In the Austin area, Yelp points to meaty favorite La Barbecue, and super cool Dripping Springs-based bakery Skull & Cakebones, which had already indicated in their Yelp profiles that they are LGBTQ-owned. 

The Pride addition was brought about after Yelp noticed a significant increase in consumers searching for LGBTQ+ businesses in their local communities, noting that the site experienced a 150 percent increase in such searches in April 2021 compared with the same time last year.

“That’s why we’re excited to make it easier than ever for people to discover and support LGBTQ+ business owners, as well as allies to the LGBTQ+ community,” says a Yelp blog post announcing the new attribute.

Consumers can check out the LGBTQ-owned attribute in the Yelp mobile app under a business’ “more info” section, as well as on Yelp’s website in the “amenities and more” section of a business page.

The new Yelp map pins can be found by directly searching for LGBTQ-owned and Open to All businesses or restaurants, and through the home page on the Yelp mobile app, as well as online by clicking the banner on the Yelp search page.

The new attribute, which is free for businesses to add, is opt-in only, giving local businesses the ability to self-identify LGBTQ-owned. And in a supportive move of its own, Yelp says it will proactively monitor pages for hate speech and remove any hateful, racist, or harmful content that violates its content guidelines.

Additionally, the Open to All program, an initiative of the Movement Advancement Project that launched in 2018, partnered with Yelp to help get the word out about area businesses that have pledged to be a safe and welcoming place for everyone. Currently, there are more than 581,000 businesses that have indicated on Yelp that they are Open to All. 

The Pride additions augment Yelp’s long-held dedication to lift up underrepresented communities. In 2017, the company launched its Gender-neutral Restroom business attribute, with more than 426,000 businesses currently indicating they offer gender-neutral restrooms. And in 2019, Yelp joined the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act and this year signed HRC’s Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation.

“To continue our support of the LGTBQ+ community, we are thrilled to launch a new attribute for LGBTQ-owned businesses, as well as a new map experience exclusively for the month of June. We hope this new attribute makes it easier to find and spend money with LGBTQ-owned businesses,” says Miriam Warren, chief diversity officer at Yelp. “For the first time, we’re also introducing rainbow map pins to our platform. Our intention is to help users discover inclusive and welcoming businesses to celebrate during Pride.”