The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been incredibly challenging for small businesses, but it has been particularly devastating for “main street” local businesses that normally do the majority of their business in person. Yelp data shows that U.S. consumer interest for restaurants has fallen 67% since March 10, and businesses like yoga studios and breweries have seen large decreases of 78% and 85%, respectively, due to social distancing measures.
Many businesses have been required to temporarily close, making it seemingly impossible to continue to pay their staff and cover rent. Fortunately, loyal customers want to help them weather this unprecedented crisis and are looking for ways to make an immediate impact. On the heels of Yelp’s announcement of $25 million relief for local businesses, today, Yelp is announcing a partnership with GoFundMe, the world’s largest social fundraising platform, to provide a fast and simple way for independent businesses to start fundraisers and accept donations through their Yelp pages.
Together, Yelp and GoFundMe are making it easy for people to donate directly to the businesses they love, and support their communities, during this challenging time. GoFundMe fundraisers will automatically appear on Yelp pages for restaurants, nightlife, beauty and fitness & active life businesses. Users will see a “Donate” icon on the Yelp page, inspiring them to take action. This gives the community a simple and easy way to show support for their favorite local businesses.
To kickstart this effort and help communities support the businesses that they love, the Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe have pledged to match up to $1 million in donations, with a $500 matching grant to eligible businesses that raise at least $500 on their GoFundMe.
Additional companies are expected to contribute to the matching fund over the next week, in order to help provide much-needed aid to even more businesses around the country. The fundraisers will begin to appear on the Yelp pages of businesses in some of the hardest hit areas starting today, and will roll out to all eligible businesses nationwide over the next two days. Businesses must have a claimed Yelp page to participate, and fewer than five locations.
Businesses that are able to remain open are adapting in an effort to stay afloat while supporting their customers: Restaurants are offering delivery and takeout, and fitness studios have turned to virtual classes. It’s Yelp’s hope that with the funds raised through this partnership, businesses will be able to support their employees and cover immediate expenses so that they’re in a better position to continue operating through this crisis, or be able to reopen their doors once we overcome it.
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.