Search for Black-owned businesses up over 1,700% and people are craving fondue: Yelp

Yelp review mentions of "black-owned" have skyrocketed 426%, the company says.

June 25, 2020, 2:27 PM

Business review platform Yelp released a report Thursday showing that searches on its platform for Black-owned businesses are up 1,785% since May 25.

In its Local Economic Impact Report, Yelp provided data and insights into the current state of small businesses across American amid the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest since the death of George Floyd.

PHOTO: Number of businesses marked closed on Yelp that were open March 1.
Number of businesses marked closed on Yelp that were open March 1.

The data shows that there are now 18 times as many searches for black-owned businesses since the Black Lives Matter protests following Floyd's death at the hands of a police officer on May 25. The 1,785% increase was measured from three weeks prior.

According to the report, Yelp review mentions of "Black-owned" and related terms also skyrocketed 426%.

Washington, D.C., had the highest number of Black-owned business searches, followed by Minnesota, Maryland, Michigan and Georgia -- although Yelp found that searches for Black-owned businesses increased in every state.

Searches for Black-owned businesses have increased across all businesses sectors, but Yelp users are mostly looking for Black-owned restaurants, food and beauty businesses, and nightlife and shopping-related businesses, the company said.

Some other key findings:

- As of June 15, there were nearly 140,000 total business closures on Yelp since March 1. Of all business closures on Yelp, 41% are permanent closures.

- Most businesses that have closed are in the retail, restaurant, beauty and fitness sectors.

- 22% of businesses that closed in April have reopened.

PHOTO: Percent of Yelp searches for Black-owned businesses by state.
Percent of Yelp searches for Black-owned businesses by state.

The report also showed how consumer behavior has shifted over the last few months, saying, "Many of the consumer interest shifts we saw in March and April started to rebound in May, with dramatic shifts in June."

For instance, people appear eager to get back to restaurant dining. During the peak of the pandemic, the number of diners on Yelp Reservations and its Waitlist feature dropped "essentially to zero," according to the report. As of early June, the number of diners seated across Yelp Reservations and Waitlist had leaped to 57%.

The restaurants people are most seeking out, according to Yelp, are ones that offer a shared dining experience like those offering fondue, tapas, hot pots and even buffets.

Still, Yelp said takeout and delivers continue to dominate in restaurant searches, "indicating this could be a trend that's here to stay."

PHOTO: Swiss cheese fondue is served in an earthenware pot.
Swiss cheese fondue is served in an earthenware pot.
Lingxiao Xie/Getty Images

Yelp's data also found that at the height of the pandemic, people were looking for ways to stay active while social distancing, leading to a reduction in searches for activities including mountain biking, golf and hiking. Conversely, searches for indoor activities including escape games, axe-throwing, bowling and yoga were up in June.

And people seem to miss in-store shopping. According to Yelp, "People are also headed back into malls, with [searches for] outlet stores, shopping centers and thrift stores all up (up 84%, 81%, 72%, respectively), as well as hosting or attending formal events with increased interest in bridal (up 70%) and formal wear (up 102%)."

Searches for skilled nursing and hospitals have declined in June, and up are searches for saunas, reflexology and dentists.

"As economies reopen, warm summer months arrive and consumers start spending more time out of their homes, we expect these shifts to continue changing at a dramatic rate," the authors of the report wrote.

For businesses that have endured throughout COVID storm, "communicating health and safety protocols will be critical for businesses as they reopen and hope to continue to stay open before there's a vaccine," Justin Norman, vice president of data science at Yelp, said in a statement to ABC News.

"Closing and reopening is incredibly costly for businesses, but by leveraging virtual services, curbside pickup and other safe ways of serving their customers, many have been able to weather the storm," Norman said