Louisville restaurant inspections, scores to be featured on Yelp

Initiative is part of open data initiative; city adopts LIVES data standard

Louisville will partner with the popular consumer review site Yelp to integrate the city’s restaurant inspections and scores into online restaurant reviews, Mayor Fischer announced June 23.

Louisville is the second city nationally, behind San Francisco, to offer the service and it’s part of the city’s commitment to open data — allowing anyone to access city databases and use them to create apps or other consumer products. The announcement was made today by Fischer and Yelp during the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s meeting in Las Vegas.

“Our restaurant scores have been available on louisvilleky.gov and the city’s smart phone app, Louisville Mobile, for years, in addition to the physical posters that restaurants must display. However, this new partnership takes that information to a national audience

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and makes it readily available through a highly used consumer site,” Fischer said. “With the help of innovative companies such as Yelp, it is possible to keep the public informed, and more importantly, keep our citizens healthy.”

The integration of Louisville’s data with YELP was possible because the city has adopted the LIVES standard that was created in 2012 as a cooperative effort between the non-profit Code for America, Yelp and representatives from technology departments in city halls across the country. It enables local municipalities to share their restaurant health inspection scores in a way that allows for ease of readability by popular consumer platforms like Yelp. This innovative effort was created to make valuable government data more accessible to the public.

Fischer also said the Louisville-Yelp partnership creates better incentives for app makers by encouraging better open data compatibility between all cities. “It’s a leadership role Louisville is proud to embrace,” he said.

“We’re extremely proud to have Louisville co-lead the LIVES open data movement,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp CEO. “I applaud Mayor Fischer’s visionary approach to empowering the citizens of Louisville. Louisville’s adoption of LIVES represents a critical step on the path towards national adoption.”

The Louisville-Yelp partnership will fully launch later this summer. Restaurant inspection scores will be provided to Yelp on a daily basis, allowing the information and scores to be fresh.

“This is the next step in the open data movement, which Louisville and Mayor Fischer continue to lead with LIVES,” said Abhi Nemani, Code for America chief of staff. “By opening data in line with national standards, that data can be integrated with national platforms such as Yelp, and encourage the move of civic data from city hall into citizens’ hands.”

San Francisco was the first to partner with Yelp to provide restaurant health score information to the public. According to a study of the Los Angeles restaurant industry, when consumers have better exposure to restaurant hygiene scores, the number of hospitalizations due to foodborne illness drops. The study also demonstrated that when restaurant scores are posted conspicuously, best practices improve across the industry.

Yelp is the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists. Along with the LIVES initiative, this new open data standard is an example of how open data in government can be leveraged to create a better experience for consumers while promoting the public good, Fischer said.

To access and download the city’s open datasets, everything from crime data to construction permits, visit data.louisvilleky.gov