MIDS Capstone Project Spring 2017

YaBO! – Yelp Activated for Business Owners

YaBO! is a web portal to give restaurant owners the insights they need to become successful.

According to a recent CNBC article, 60% of all restaurants close before their first anniversary, and 80% before their fifth. There are over 624,300 restaurants in the U.S., with total annual food and drink sales estimated at $782 billion, which supports a workforce of approximately 14 million individuals. ( We set out with a single objective in mind, utilizing Yelp's rich data set to create a tool that can help restaurant owners improve the likelihood of their success. After a number of lengthy interviews with restaurant owners in different cities, we began to narrow our focus on several questions that we believed could be answered by using the Yelp dataset, as well as some additional neighborhood-level demographic data sets.

  1. "How are my individual dishes being received by my customers?"
  2. "Who are my serious competitors?"
  3. "How can I better analyze potential restaurant locations? How can learn more about each neighborhood in my city?"
  4. "How are reviews trending for other restaurants in my cuisine type?"

While developing answers to these questions, we found several other interesting (and useful) things along the way…

The 4 Dimensions of Yabo!

  • Customer Insights - Your menu must be developed with an eye toward your local neighborhood demographics. Also, you need to understand the difference between the reviews you receive from casual Yelp! users vs. Elite Yelp! users.
  • Understanding Local (Micro-Industry) Trends - The Restaurant Industry is extremely dynamic. Understanding how changes in the in the frequency and quality of your reviews compares to those in your local industry can provide important insights into the future.
  • Identifying Cuisine Hot Spots and Opportunities - It is normal to see cuisine-specific "Hot Spots" develop in a market, but you must be aware of these when looking to open your first restaurant, or to expand to an additional location.
  • Market Analysis - In order to differentiate your business, you must understand who your competitors are, where they are, what they are serving, and how reviewers are receiving their offerings

The MVP Release of YaBO! includes all restaurants in Pittsburgh, PA, U.S., that have been reviewed on Yelp! over the past 12 years. The YaBO! prototype utilizes data from Yelp! and the US Census Bureau. YaBO! utilizes the following techniques and technologies to provide the information within this web portal: Paralax Web Portal with Javascript and JQuery, Regression Analysis, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Geolocation Cluster Mapping

Last updated: May 13, 2017