Yelp Now Lets You Track Food Trends in Your City

By Lisa Lagace

Yelp is good for many things. If you need advice on strip clubs, for instance, well, it’s got you covered.

Want to know which sushi places to avoid? Their reviews serve as a fairly accurate guide.

In fact, there’s not a lot you can’t figure out when it comes to restaurants and venues in Toronto – so it comes as no surprise that Yelp has made a tool that collects all their data and puts it in one place so you can track trends in your city. 

That’s right, this new tool shows us how popular each food trend is, so if you want to know just when gluten-free started to take off – or if bacon everything has finally reached its peak – all you have to do is click a few buttons to find out. 

The tool lets you plug in your city name, search by type of venue, and add specific terms to gather data from the past 10 years of Yelp.

It then charts their data based on the frequency of the term being used in their reviews.

If you search PBR, microbrew, and craft beer, it’s no surprise that the term craft brew is currently peaking over the other two. It would appear there were at least 10 different Craft Beer Festivals this year in Toronto – maybe more. 

The graphs also break down search history by region, allowing you to compare Toronto’s data on that food trend to the data Yelp has in all of the 98 other cities – from 20 countries around the world – it works in.   

The “who did it first” debate is now officially over.   

If you plug in the terms gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian, you’ll see that, while vegetarian was huge in Toronto back in 2009, it’s steadily declined in the years since while vegan has maintained its pace, and gluten-free has taken off.

You can also look up food trucks and see that, while there were brief mentions of them in both 2009 and 2010, the trend didn’t really take off until sometime in 2012.

The cronut trend started appearing halfway through 2013, and we all remember the fascination with cupcakes that peaked around 2009. 

While burritos were all the rage back in 2009, in 2014 it’s all about tacos.

With the CNE currently in town, there isn’t a food trend you won’t have access to in Toronto over the next few weeks. So if you’re not sure which one (or five) you should be making a point to try, give Yelp’s new tool a few terms to search for. Who knows, play your cards right and you might even be responsible for helping to create the next big trend.   


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