As a foodie, I am someone who likes to try a variety of food selections and to explore the restaurants that are popular in the regions that I am in. Usually, the way I find places to eat back in the states would be through the very helpful app called Yelp. However, much to my dismay one of the first things that I have noticed during my small amount of time in Prague, Czech Republic has been how infrequent the app/website Yelp has been used here in Prague if you live outside the town center area. Whenever I tried to look for places near me (Prague 7) via Yelp. I often ended up disappointed because though there were restaurants listed, reviews were few, photos were sparse, and the overall the reviews were not too helpful.
Due to Yelp’s inability to provide sufficient information, I moved onto other sites such as Foursquare and Zomato who appear to have greater user interaction within the app with more reviews and rating on restaurants than Yelp. Foursquare’s and Zomato’s prominence over Yelp encouraged me to research why Yelp is not as prominent here in the Czech Republic (only used within Prague, not in other cities). This led to the discovery that despite how big of a presence yelp has in the United States, it’s not as popular in Europe as people assume it is.
One of the major reasons, as described byDenis Bravenec in his article, “How Zomato Is Outshining Yelp in the Czech Republic” is Yelp’s cultural crash with the rest of Europe. Yelp’s competitor, Zomato has curated content that meets the needs of their consumers. Thus, through such product curation, Zomato is able to address the most likely use case by Czech consumers. Other examples of Zamoto’s localization strategy is their use beer prices (how much a pint costs) to give consumers more insight on the style of restaurant, and their adaptation of meal coupons. Yelp, on the other hand, does not offer much in terms of “localized” services, and instead, serves more like a search engine with only a small room left for curated content. This is why one of the main reasons as to why Yelp has not been able to click with the European consumer.
It seems that Yelp itself has realized their situation in Europe as the company has recently given up on international growth for the time being, and will instead focus on their domestic market back in the United States. Despite Yelp’s initial plans to come and conquer the European market, their efforts have fallen short as Yelp’s platform does not seem to culturally fit within Europe. The Ceo of Yelp, Jeremy Stoppelman has even addressed Yelp’s international issues on the company’s 2016 Q3 earnings call
“While our domestic business continues to thrive, it’s become apparent the changes in the international distribution environment have impaired the near-term growth prospects of our business overseas.”
– Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman
Despite their international retracement in Europe, Yelp will continue to run its local sites and apps, where consumers can post and find reviews of local businesses but it will no longer sell against those listings. The only offices Yelp will continue running in Europe will be in London and Hamburg, but only for engineering and other non-commercial operations.