A U.S. consumer review website will soon give its Japanese counterparts Tabelog and Gurunavi (“Gourmet Navigator”) a run for their money. Yelp, known for its reviews of restaurants and other local businesses, has recently launched its Japanese website on April 9.
Yelp’s entry to Japan brings with it 53 million reviews, with monthly visitors averaging 120 million. A stark contrast with local websites Tabelog, which boasts of 5.2 million reviews, followed by Gurunavi with 4 million. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman is hopeful that Japan will soon take to their website, which is different from the two because of its preference to use real names in submitting reviews and allowing more than restaurants to be rated. He mentioned the country’s robust businesses and cities, on top of large demographics using iPhones as some of the key factors for bringing the brand, which has seen success in 25 other countries, to its shores.
Local review websites have taken on the challenge of a new rival to expand their services. Tabelog has added a reservation service on its list of functions since January 2013. Meanwile, Gurunavi allows users to choose options for private rooms when dining in restaurants, along with a ranking system on the food listed on the menu according to reviews submitted. Both have also set up overseas websites in their quest to capture a larger market.