Sara Malmstrom – Don’t Be Afraid to Try – Women’s History Month

Sara Malmstrom – Owner/General Manager, Sage Bistro

Don’t be afraid to try!

Tell me a little bit about your background personally and professionally.

I am a retired graduate school dean who had no aspirations to own a business, let alone a restaurant. I worked in the field of education my entire professional life, the last 23 in higher education.

How did you get into hospitality?  

I bought a restaurant to give my son, who graduated from a culinary program I had a hand in starting at Keiser University’s Melbourne campus, an opportunity to be an executive chef. Jordan had been a sous chef for two executive chefs with ownership interest in their restaurants. He had seven years in the field when I told him I was purchasing a restaurant that we could run together. He told me I was crazy and asked if I had any idea how hard it was to own a restaurant. I told him honestly that I didn’t!

How do women positively impact Florida’s hospitality industry?

There are a multitude of strong women restaurateurs, owners, GMs, chefs, and many, many hoteliers. The creative energy that women bring to the field is pretty awesome.

What qualities make a great female leader?     

A female leader has to be smart, tough, and a good people person. A sense of humor and political savvy doesn’t hurt either. Men have a handle on networking and the ‘good old boy’ thing. Can we develop the ‘good old girl’ thing?!?

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to showcase what women have accomplished and cement role models for the younger generation.

Is there a woman from history who you admire? Why?

My grandmother, Ruth LeMaster. She earned a master’s degree from University of Oregon while raising two young children. That was at a time when women didn’t go to college, let alone earn graduate degrees.

Why is it important for more women to be recognized in leadership roles?

Women need to be recognized in leadership roles to create role models for girls and to narrow the gender gap, especially in pay. The glass ceiling is real. We need to celebrate those who have cracked it so others will be able to do so even more.

What piece of advice would you give to women coming up in hospitality?

Don’t be afraid to try. It takes long hours and mental toughness, but if you aren’t afraid of hard work and risk, and if you believe in yourself, you can go far.

What professional, personal, or community service driven accomplishments are you proud of?

I am proud of creating, with my son, a successful restaurant and surviving through the crazy pandemic. I am also proud of my career in higher education and the many degree programs I was able to start and get through the accreditation process, most with perfect accreditation records. To name a few, I was responsible for starting a Master of Science in Physician Assistant, a Master of Nursing Practice, a PhD in Education, an MBA, a DBA, oh, and an AS in Culinary Arts!

Dannette Lynch – Following Her Passions – Women’s History Month

Dannette Lynch, FRLA Regional Director and Director of Membership

“Appreciation is Key”

Dannette Lynch, FRLA Regional Director and Director of Membership, likes to say that she was born into the hospitality industry. Her grandparents had a restaurant in Illinois that served breakfast and lunch daily, and Dannette, all of four years old, appointed herself the greeter. If you know her at all, that shouldn’t surprise you. Dannette is one of the most welcoming people you will ever meet, and she always rolls up her sleeves to get to work.

Dannette’s path to hospitality is as extensive as it is diverse. She actually planned to go to medical school but got involved in a big community event as a volunteer. Through that engagement, she received a call to join Nike and the world of professional sports – specifically the North American Soccer League (NASL), the first professional soccer league in many U.S. cities. Through this job, she got to travel the country and the world, deepening her love of travel. And it wasn’t her only sports gig – she worked with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and remains a very active sports fan!

Another passion of hers is performing arts. In Pinellas County, she opened a performing arts center, Ruth Eckerd Hall, as Marketing Director and was able to get involved with bringing more culture to the region. She coordinated partnership marketing for Busch Gardens and then moved to work at the local Convention and Visitors Bureau, where she worked in hospitality education. She conducted all the trainings and hospitality certifications and served on the Pinellas Hotel Association and the Pinellas Restaurant Association, which led her to FRLA. One of many notable accomplishments was creating one of the first Super Bowl Trainings in Tampa to help educate local businesses and the NFL on how to greet visitors and excel at customer service for the influx of visitors the big game brings to town. The NFL replicated her training the next year in New Orleans because of its success – one Dannette calls a team effort.

Throughout more than 40 years working professionally in Florida’s hospitality industry, she has accomplished a great deal. In addition to her NFL training, she is incredibly proud of her work to start three Hospitality/Culinary Programs at local colleges, technical schools, and high schools. To attract students into the programs, they had to be innovative and also created scholarships to help get youth into the programs and onto the hospitality career path.  Along the way for all of her efforts, Dannette has received numerous honors, including the Key to the City of Clearwater and Tourism Person of the Year from both the City of Clearwater and Tampa Bay Beaches.

Dannette credits her dad for her achievements across male-dominated industries. “My dad always put me on equal level and insisted I did things outside of my comfort zone, whether it was learning a new skill or sport or speaking to others…I feel very fortunate that he did that,’ she says. Because of that perspective of equality and inclusiveness, she never thought about work and her professional path as women versus men. She feels incredibly lucky that it was never an obstacle for her. She says she had a tremendous amount of opportunity, proved herself, and had wonderful supervisors who helped encourage her. She adds, “When you have someone who has that kind of confidence in you, you want to perform and succeed even more for them. Through my work ethic and work quality, I definitely earned it, but having that support makes all the difference.”

And she truly believes that women make a positive impact on Florida’s hospitality industry each and every day. Hospitality comes naturally for women, she says. Being welcoming and showing sincere consideration for others are traits that make a great female leader. “Do the work,” she says. “Be strong, be flexible, and be compassionate. Appreciation is key.”

Dannette says that the trailblazing women who came before her are directly responsible for her having the opportunities she has had and she believes in paying that forward. She loves to share her knowledge and wisdom with women coming up in hospitality and gives them this advice: “Enjoy your time! There are plenty of amazing opportunities. Take advantage of them and learn as much as you can. Be kind to the wonderful people you meet along the way. The friends and colleagues you will enjoy are like no other in the hospitality industry.”

With so much to be proud of at work, she is even more proud of her family. She married her high school sweetheart and has two sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren.

Closing question: Is there a woman from history or your life that you admire and why?

“My grandmother. She had the most inspirational work ethic. She came to America ALONE at 9 years old from Sweden. Her mother had passed away and her father had six sons and did not feel he could care well enough for her alone. She came to the U.S. to an aunt she had never met. She spoke no English and left the only world she ever knew. Despite facing those challenges, she worked hard and achieved so much. She taught herself English and became one of the first women telegraph operators. She also worked alongside my grandfather. She was one of the most independent, compassionate, and loving woman I have ever known and she inspires me every day.”

 

 

 

 

Getting to Know Sonny Flynn – Women’s History Month

Sonny Flynn, Owner/CEO of Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center, John’s Pass Rescue, and BITE Trolley

 

Please share a little bit about your background personally and professionally.

I was raised in the hospitality industry. My parents owned a little pizza parlor, and I started helping there once I was tall enough to reach the tables. I also found my love for cooking.

Today, I am Owner of the Historic John’s Pass Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center that has been a staple Attraction in Pinellas County for a decade, drawing thousands of excited visitors annually. Our mission focuses on wildlife preservation, animal rescue, and education.

I have dedicated myself to saving thousands of animal lives by adopting them or assisting in the relocation of unwanted pets. By educating the public through my Wildlife Education Center, my staff and I help visitors to understand the needs of certain species and what it takes to have them as pets. I believe by educating the public about the needs of certain species and which ones are good household pets and the ones that are not, will help eliminate the numbers of neglected and unwanted pets in society. Before this, I had more than 30 years of success in the tourism and hospitality industry.

My most recent adventure is BITE Trolley. More than just a transportation company, we are adding an entertainment factor, with animal ambassadors, music with students from School of Rock, and the occasional guest brewery.

How did being a woman affect your professional path/path to leadership?

Being a woman in business, I met some challenges along the way, but it was those challenges that created even more drive and determination for me to accomplish any goal I set for myself. Without those hurdles, I would not be the strong, compassionate leader I am today or have the success.

How do women positively impact Florida’s hospitality industry?

There are several women I have met along the way that have had a huge impact on the hospitality industry. They are restaurant/bar owners, general managers of large hotels, and leaders in our trade association and local chambers, to name a few. Although the hospitality industry is very competitive, women are more likely to support each other and help each other grow. They recognize strength in numbers and maintain compassion. In my opinion, the successful women dare to dream and multitask well to get it done.

What qualities make a great female leader?

Self awareness, connection, compassion, resilience, and persistence

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month is important. We have overcome a great deal, but we have some more work to do for equality. To see the women of past and present recognized for accomplishments is amazing and long overdue!

Is there a woman from history who you admire? Why?

Queen Elizabeth. Under her rule, England became a major European power in politics, commerce and the arts.

Why is it important for more women to be recognized in leadership roles?

Female leaders create a more diverse workforce, generate broader societal impacts, and serve as role models. Recognizing them will benefit both men and women in career advancement, pay equity, and will aid in changing workplace policies.

What piece of advice would you give to women coming up in hospitality?

Dare to dream! In unity we all succeed! With patience and perseverance anything is possible.

What professional, personal or community service driven accomplishments are you proud of?

Alligator & Wildlife Discovery Center & John’s Pass Rescue are my proudest accomplishments. It is an honor to save animals, share conservation efforts, continue education programs, and now with the farm go back to my beginning and support culinary programs.

Olivia Hoblit – Mentoring the Next Generation of Hospitality Leaders – Women’s History Month

Olivia Hoblit, Regional Manager of Innisfree Hotels and FRLA Board of Directors Chair

 

 

Mentoring the Next Generation of Hospitality Leaders

FRLA Board of Director Chair Olivia Hoblit always knew she wanted to be a leader. Coming to the U.S. with her family from the Philippines at the age of 15, she was in a new place but had the drive to overcome any challenges to succeed. She began her career in hospitality in food service at the age of 17, and it was at that restaurant where her life changed. She met a regular customer – actually in the legal profession – who began to mentor her and brought her under her wing in the legal field.

As Olivia worked her way up to paralegal and set her sights on law school, something happened that changed her path entirely. She started working part-time at a luxury beachfront boutique hotel – Elizabeth Pointe Lodge – and fell in love with hospitality and began to focus full time her passion for this industry. The hotel owners invested in her and guided her on this new path, and she attributes these important mentors for her love of teaching others.

Her hotel experience beyond the Lodge includes GM of the Seaside Amelia Inn – owned by Innisfree hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, and now Regional Manager of Innisfree Hotels. She has been honored with awards for her performance and achievements and was selected as one of the Top Women in Lodging by FRLA.

Like women across business, Olivia feels that she sometimes has to work harder in this industry as a woman, but she credits the people who have mentored her and shown her the way as providers of hope and positivity to know that her dedication and hard work pays off.

She says that women positively impact Florida’s hospitality industry because they do their job from the heart and take care of the people around them. Being empathetic and caring are important qualities for great female leaders. “Caring for people, helping them to be successful, and investing in others is so important to me,” she says. Helping find talent and helping them propel to the next part of their career is something she is laser focused on as FRLA Board Chair.

When asked what piece of advice she has for women coming up in hospitality, she said, “Find someone to mentor you – someone you could learn from. It will be the best thing you ever did. And then do the same for others. Giving people the opportunity to grow and a perspective of hope is important alongside hard work and drive. Always work to make things better.”

Closing Question: What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

“Women’s History Month is an opportunity to recognize women’s strength and accomplishments – our many contributions to history, society, and culture. We owe so much to those who came before us; we owe it to them to pay it forward.”

Women’s History Month – Recognizing Women Across Florida’s Hospitality Industry

March 4, 2022

In recognition of Women’s History Month, this March, FRLA will be highlighting interviews with women across Florida’s hospitality industry. Not only is Women’s History Month an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of women worldwide as well as the challenges they still face, but it is also a great time to highlight women hospitality professionals across the Sunshine State. At a time when the state is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and many women are re-entering the workforce. we are proud to highlight all they contribute to our communities, our industry, and our state.

We will share stories and insights from these women across hotels and restaurants, from all levels of experience. We hope you will follow our stories on this blog and across social media and help us to celebrate the amazing women in Florida’s hospitality industry.

The first Women’s History Day was celebrated in 1909 on the anniversary of protest of 15,000 women against terrible working conditions in factories across New York. As decades progressed, the recognition changed to Women’s History Week, and in 1987, the observance shifted to what we now know as Women’s History Month. Since then, each year the U.S. President issues a proclamation for Women’s History Month in March. For 2022, the theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” The theme is focused not just on female caregivers and frontline workers but also recognizes the caring nature across women of all cultures throughout history.

In Florida’s hospitality industry, women serve at all levels as they create meaningful experiences for our guests. In our first interview – to be shared in the coming days – we highlight Regional Manager of Innisfree Hotels and FRLA Board of Directors Chair Olivia Hoblit. She discusses how one of the most important aspects of female leaders is caring for others. She extends this approach to more than just guests but also to coworkers, team members, and others across her community. She was mentored as she was coming up in the industry, and she wants to help and invest in others and pay it forward to ensure women of great talent can succeed.

We can’t wait to share her story with you. Until next time!

HR Tips: 3 Ways to Effectively Manage HR Responsibilities

The workplace is full of complexity, and many of those complexities are managed by the Human Resources Department. Sometimes the HR Department is a team of people with deep expertise, but often it’s one person who wears many hats in the organization and has no formal HR training. If your HR Department looks more like the latter, and you could use a little help keeping it all together, read on for our human resource tips for managing your payroll, hiring, employees and more.

3 Effective Human Resources Management Strategies

Inventory who is doing what within human resources

Because human resources covers so many different tasks, those tasks are often assigned to different people in the organization. It’s common for owners, managers, and operations personnel to have a hand in HR, whether or not the organization has a dedicated HR person. But with HR responsibilities spread out, it may not be clear who’s doing what, and that uncertainty can add to the stress felt by whoever oversees the organization’s HR. Important HR functions risk being neglected and problems may go unnoticed or unresolved.

In order to effectively manage your HR, you need to identify what’s currently being done and who’s doing it. For example, who ensures that your policies and practices meet legal requirements? Who makes internal decisions about pay, benefits, and recruitment? Where do employees go to resolve conflicts or report harassment? Who conducts terminations? Who writes policies? Where do the people doing HR go if they have questions or concerns?

It’s not a problem if your HR responsibilities are spread out among multiple people. In fact, we recommend it (more on that below). But with multiple people involved, it’s essential to verify that everything that needs to be done is being done. Once you have a clear picture of your HR functions, you’re in a better position to assess whether those functions are being done well.

Require your managers to handle more HR issues

There’s no way that HR can be involved in every employee relations issue, especially on those days when you’re putting out fires. When HR practitioners spend most of their time responding to problems, they’re not able to invest their time and energy in proactive HR solutions. When business owners get bogged down addressing employee issues, they’re not able to devote as much time to growing the business. Both in-house HR professionals and business owners can and should delegate some HR responsibilities to management.

Managers should feel comfortable giving feedback, offering praise, providing direction, disciplining poor performers, addressing certain behavioral problems, and resolving conflicts. Not every employee issue needs to be escalated up the chain of command or be placed on the desk of the HR department. If managers – who are usually closer to the situation and better equipped to respond to it quickly and effectively – can handle the smaller, more frequent employee issues that arise, then owners and dedicated HR staff will have more time to tackle larger projects and more bandwidth to respond appropriately to emergencies. If managers don’t have the knowledge and skills to take on certain HR responsibilities, consider additional training.

Talk to other human resource professionals

Sometimes it feels good to talk to people who can relate to what you’re going through. It can be lonely being a small business owner or solo HR practitioner. There may not be someone else in the workplace who fully understands what you’re experiencing, and even if there are people who would understand, you may not be able to open up to them because so many matters are confidential or sensitive. It can also feel like your situation is so unique that no one could possibly understand.

If you know other organizational leaders in HR or have access to online networks of fellow HR professionals, you’ll likely find value in striking up a conversation. One of the best things about the world of HR is that the people who practice it are eager to listen and happy to share what worked or didn’t work for them. If nothing else, you’ll see that you’re not alone and that your HR issues aren’t really that unique. That alone can bring peace of mind and give you the confidence to tackle each new day’s HR responsibilities.

Heartland’s Payroll+ is a cloud-based payroll software that allows you to effectively manage all of your small business human resources needs. From employee management and speeding up payroll to tracking hours and efficient hiring, Payroll+ goes beyond the basics to make human resources management a breeze.

Explore our payroll and HR management software.

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us

Multi-factor authentication: An extra layer of security for an extra layer of protection

As a Heartland Merchant, you trust us to keep your data secure. It’s why we stay on the forefront of security innovation—to deliver for you every day.

We’re strengthening your security with the addition of multi-factor authentication (MFA). It’s an extra layer of protection for your account login credentials and business data, and it’s easy to set up.

What is Multi Factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication is an extra layer of protection against cyberthreats like phishing attacks and account takeovers. It verifies your identity with two different “factors” of authentication when you log in.

These factors could be:

  • Something you know: a password, PIN, or answer to a security question
  • Something you have: a smartphone, one-time pass token, or smart card
  • Something you are: biometrics, like your fingerprint

Why do you need multi factor authentication? It’s extra account security for an extra layer of protection.

Your questions, answered

How will multi factor authentication work on my account?

Once you set up MFA, you’ll need to enter the unique verification code you receive:

  • When you sign in. (You can select “Remember Me” to prompt MFA every 45 days instead of at every login.)
  • When you sign in from a new device or new web browser
  • When you need to view or download sensitive data (like full card numbers)

If I have an elevated account, do I have to set up MFA?

Yes. You’ll need to set up multi factor authentication for each of your accounts, including elevated ones.

Can I change my primary authentication method?

You can! You can make the switch in the Reporting app within the “Account Security” section.

What are the authentication method options?

Your authentication method options could be:

  • Your verified email, which was used during the Merchant Portal registration process
  • text message (SMS) to your mobile phone
  • phone call to a number associated with your account
  • An authenticator app installed on your device (such as Google Authenticator, Authy, Duo Mobile, or Microsoft Authenticator)

What if I didn’t receive the verification code?

If you haven’t received your verification code, try these methods of troubleshooting:

  1. Have a code sent to you again—a sent code expires after five minutes.
  2. If this is your first time authenticating with your chosen method, a third-party security app on your mobile phone might be blocking the text message or phone call. Try disabling the security app temporarily while you go through the authentication process again.
  3. If that doesn’t work, try selecting a new primary authentication method.
  4. If you still don’t receive the code using another method, contact your local customer care representative.

What if I no longer have access to my verified email?

No problem, contact your local customer care representative to add a new email address to your account.

What if I no longer have access to the phone number on my account?

We’re happy to help. Contact your local customer care representative to add a new phone number to your account.

What happens if I can’t sign in to my account?

Our team is on hand to assist. Contact your local support representative to reset your password.

Are you interested in knowing how Heartland keeps your data secure? Get in touch with us today.

 

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for nearly 1,000,000 businesses on a mission to sell more, keep customers coming back and have more time to focus on building a remarkable business. Learn more at heartland.us.

 

90-Second Update: Uncle Sam, Where’s My ERTC?

In our latest “90 Second Update,” we give an update on the status of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC).  As many of you know well, the ERTC – redesigned with input from the National Restaurant Association – has the potential to be a critical recovery tool for tens of thousands of restaurants.  But as we move closer to the end of the year, too many restaurants have yet to see their refund checks from the IRS.

 

Earlier this month, we wrote the Treasury Department and the IRS with a series of asks to get the ERTC process moving and to protect vulnerable restaurants who will soon be due for January tax payments.

 

We are meeting with Treasury officials soon and would like to walk in with a petition that demonstrates how important this issue is to our industry.  If you have 30 seconds, please review the petition and add your name.  If you have more time, we would welcome your story on why the ERTC matters to your restaurant.  Simply respond to this email – we’ll remove identifying information and share your perspectives with top government leaders.

 

Replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund remains another top priority – our update gives the latest. If you haven’t contacted your elected official here in Washington, now’s the time to do so.

Sign the ERTC Petition

Tell Congress to Replenish the RRF

Congressional Update With Sean Kennedy

 

 

 

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Postponed

Recently, the difficult decision has been made to postpone the events involved in the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show (scheduled for September 19-20, 2021) to September 2022.

The safety of you, your colleagues and your loved ones takes precedent at this time. This decision is one that is not taken lightly. Our home is Florida. We recognize the importance of this industry to my home state and see first-hand both the obstacles faced and the strength and perseverance of so many. You are an inspiration to all of us here. We do not take our role in supporting you lightly. While disappointed, I know this is the right thing do to.

John Lederer and Brian Bernstein with Clarion Events will connect with you directly. As you discuss your event plans with them, your Application & License Agreement for Event Participation (“Booth Contract”) authorizes Clarion to cancel and reschedule the event as the direct consequences and health risks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are beyond the control of Clarion and make it unreasonable and impractical for you to occupy the space or otherwise hold the event as scheduled.

For those who have sent in your Booth Contracts and any payments made toward those contracts, John and Brian will be in contact with you to confirm:

• Your booth location has remained in a similar position for the September 2022 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show;
• We have rolled your deposit and payment over to the September 2022 event;
• John and Brian will reach out to you for approval to a date change amendment to your Booth Contract.

Thank you for your continued support. Continue to stay healthy, safe and strong. We look forward to seeing you in person at our 2022 event(s).

Yelp Helps Businesses Communicate Vaccination Requirements

•  Consumers can now stay updated on businesses’ health and safety precautions

•  Yelp will proactively safeguard businesses that add the new attributes


With the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the COVID Delta variant, we’re seeing an increasing number of businesses implement new safety measures to protect their employees and communities. To help consumers understand how a business is currently operating as pandemic guidelines continue to evolve, today, Yelp is announcing two new, free attributes – “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated.” Users will be able to filter by these attributes when searching for local businesses on Yelp and will easily see “Proof of vaccination required” indicated on restaurant, food and nightlife businesses in search results.

To help protect businesses that may experience backlash for their vaccination policies, we are proactively monitoring Yelp pages of businesses that activate these attributes. This is one of the significant measures Yelp takes to maintain the integrity and quality of the content on our platform.

Yelp’s Content Guidelines require that all reviews be based on a first-hand consumer experience. However, in recent weeks, we’ve seen a rise in reviews focused on people’s stance on COVID vaccinations rather than their actual experience with the business. When a business gains public attention, people often come to Yelp to express their views on the matter. Mitigating against these “review bombing” events has become a significant issue for online review platforms, which is why Yelp has heavily invested to address this phenomenon for years through our Consumer Alerts program.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve placed Unusual Activity Alerts on a Yelp page when we uncover an influx of activity in response to a business gaining public attention for their stance on COVID health and safety practices — including requiring vaccinations for employees and/or customers. In fact, since January 2021, we’ve placed more than 100 Unusual Activity Alerts on Yelp pages related to these incidents, which has resulted in the removal of nearly 4,500 reviews for violating our content policies.

Protecting Businesses from “Review Bombing”

For businesses that activate “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated” on their Yelp page, we are putting protective measures in place to proactively safeguard them from reviews that primarily criticize the COVID health and safety measures they enforce. We put a similar system in place when we launched our Black-owned attribute in June 2020, and followed the same process for our other identity attributes, such as Latinx-ownedAsian-owned, and LGBTQ-owned. By proactively monitoring business pages that activated these identity attributes for any hateful, racist or other harmful content that violates our Content Guidelines, we thwarted and removed nearly 400 reviews for containing harmful content.

Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen incidents of “review bombing” increase around the health and safety precautions businesses implement. Reviews from customers that criticize a business’s vaccination requirements violate our special COVID Content Guidelines, which were introduced in March 2020 to protect businesses from reputational harm related to the pandemic. In 2021, we’ve removed nearly 8,000 reviews for violating these guidelines. Both consumers and businesses can report reviews that “represent an extraordinary circumstance (e.g. COVID-19, media-fueled)” by following these steps. A member of our User Operations team investigates each flagged review and, if it’s found to be in violation of our policies, removes it from our platform.

At Yelp, we have signals in place that alert our moderators if there is an unusual spike in traffic on a business’s Yelp page. If warranted, our team of moderators will investigate and may temporarily disable the ability to post as we place an alert over the business’s reviews. After activity on the business page has dramatically decreased or stopped, we will clean up the page so only first-hand consumer experiences are reflected.

For businesses that currently have an Unusual Activity Alert on their Yelp page, they can expect the alert to be removed once unusual activity on the business page has decreased or stopped. This can take from a few days to several weeks — the actual duration is determined once traffic on the business page has decreased.

Communicating Vaccine Requirements on Yelp

Only businesses can add the “Proof of vaccination required” and “All staff fully vaccinated” attributes to their Yelp page.

To add the attribute, log into your Yelp for Business account and follow these steps:

  • Go to the Business Information section
  • Click Add (or Edit if you have existing content here) next to “Amenities and more”
  • Click Yes next to the attribute you’d like to turn on
  • Click Save Changes

Additionally, as pandemic guidelines have evolved since we first introduced our COVID-19 section, we’re refreshing the way that content is displayed on business pages to better provide the most up-to-date and useful information to consumers. Businesses that currently require masks from customers and staff can activate “Masks required” and “Staff wears masks” attributes through their Yelp for Business account.

At Yelp, we are committed to providing consumers with reliable and useful information to help them decide where to spend their money, and at the same time, we aim to level the playing field for all businesses. That’s why we’ve long invested in mitigating misinformation on our platform, to give consumers access to trusted content while helping businesses focus on what they do best: provide a great customer experience.