Predicting public health risks from restaurant reviews

In most cities, health inspections are generally random, which can increase time spent on spot checks at clean restaurants that have been following the rules closely — and missed opportunities to improve health and hygiene at places with more pressing food safety issues.
People Impacted
$ 1.7T
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

Each year, millions of people cycle through and post Yelp reviews about their experiences at these same restaurants. The information in these reviews can improve the City’s inspection efforts and transform the way inspections are targeted. Flagged public health risks at restaurants by combining Yelp reviews with open city data on past inspections. An algorithmic approach discovers 25% more violations with the same number of inspections.

the impact
Negative Effects
  • Restaurants shutting down

  • People getting sick from exposure poor heath practices

Economic Impact

Fast Facts about Connecticut’s Restaurant Industry

  • 7,877 eating and drinking locations in Connecticut in 2017.

  • 154,100 restaurant and foodservice jobs in Connecticut in 2017 = 9% of employment in the state.

  • By 2027, employment is projected to grow by 7.1% = 11,000 additional jobs, for a total of 165,100.

  • $7.5 billion projected sales in Connecticut’s restaurants in 2017.

Data Sources


  1. Connecticut Restaurant Association -

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