Open Data, Real Impact

San Francisco Works with Yelp to Create National Standard for Restaurant Health Scores

Many San Franciscans are familiar with restaurant safety scores – the green cards posted in restaurants that publicly display their inspection scores on a scale of 1-100. In 2005, San Francisco’s Health Department implemented a food safety ordinance that required the collection and publication of these scores. While Restaurants are not required to post their scores, many do voluntarily and all scores are publicly available online.

Now, restaurant inspection scores will be going digital, becoming more visible than ever before.

Today, Mayor Lee announced an exciting partnership with Yelp to integrate inspection scores into the Yelp profiles of San Francisco restaurants. In a couple of weeks, San Francisco Department of Public Health’s entire database of restaurant scores will be accessible on Yelp.

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Public availability of restaurant health scores has increased consumer confidence and led to improvements in health and safety practices of many restaurants around the country. In fact, hundreds of cities around the country already collect and publish this data.

Working locally and nationally, Yelp, San Francisco, NYC and Philly have worked together to create a national open data standard. We are now partnering with Code For America and Yelp on a campaign to enroll more cities to join the effort.

Please ask your Mayor to join the effort at

“This is another significant step in the Open Data movement,” said Mayor Lee. “By making often hard-to-find government information more widely available, we can make government more transparent and improve public health outcomes with the power of technology.”

Yelp’s engineering team, SF, NYC, and Philly technical staff designed the Local Inspector Value-entry Specification (LIVES), which enables local municipalities to accurately upload restaurant health inspection scores to Yelp’s database. “Increasing the transparency and accessibility of important public information is another example of how San Francisco is leading the charge in bettering citizens lives by fostering innovation,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO and Co-founder of Yelp.

“Open standards are critical for driving innovation. You can see that in the work that Google and Portland did with GTFS and the 400+ cities that have adopted that standard. We see the same potential here and ask that cities join us in making this important dataset more accessible,” said Jay Nath, Chief Innovation Officer for SF.

The new partnership is exemplary of how open data and public-private partnerships can improve the citizen experience and promote transparency.