New Yelp Restaurant Scores Give Hygiene Help

Diners might rave about that spinach salad, but maybe they have iron stomachs. Crowd-sourced reviews site Yelp just rolled out a new service to tell you not just how tasty the food is, but how cleanly it was prepared.

Beginning today (Jan. 17), San Franciscans will be able to see local restaurant hygiene scores on Yelp . The company has established a new standard called Local Inspector Value-Entry Specification — a mouthful to say, but thankfully shortened to LIVES.

The LIVES standard was jointly developed by Yelp and the technology departments of the cities of San Francisco and New York. The program displays the results of health inspections using the city's 0 to 100 score. The higher the score, the cleaner the restaurant.

Participating cities send to Yelp their health department files on local restaurants  and other eating establishments. The city must include information to identify the restaurant, including its longitude and latitude, plus health department inspection records. Files that list specific violations, such as employees not washing their hands, are optional. Yelp users can immediately see a restaurant's score at the top of a restaurant's listing, and when clicked, a window opens showing available details.

The new scores will roll out to New York in the coming weeks with Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago to follow, according to Yelp's LIVES page for city governments. Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp's CEO, invited other municipalities to join the program via today's blog post.