Buick Drivers Can Now Use Yelp to Make Restaurant Reservations From Their Dashboards

It's the latest service offered with General Motors Marketplace.

General Motors Marketplace is changing the meaning of drive-in dining. Buick drivers can now use the service to make restaurant reservations from their dashboards via Yelp.

Drivers of Marketplace-equipped Buicks can use Yelp to search for restaurants within a 25-mile radius of the car’s location and make reservations for a table of up to 10 people. While many a driver has likely picked up a phone to hastily browse through Yelp reviews from behind the wheel, this is the first time Yelp Reservations has been integrated with a vehicle infotainment system, according to Buick.

Hungry drivers can search for restaurants by category (in beta testing, “American/burgers” was the most popular, Buick said), and call directly through the in-car app. 

GM Marketplace already allows drivers to do things like pay for fuel and order takeout, but restaurant reservations represent a major unfilled niche, say the developers. A survey by Xevo, which developed the software behind the system, found that 58 percent of drivers decide where to eat at least once a week using a smartphone app after getting in their vehicle. One person’s poor planning is another’s marketing opportunity, it seems.

Marketplace is available on all 2017-model-year or newer Buicks, albeit only on certain trim levels. The service is also available on select Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac models. GM plans to expand the availability of the Yelp Reservations feature to models from those brands at a later date.

GM is one of the first automakers to implement in-car commerce schemes, but it probably won’t be the last. Whether it’s encouraging people to make restaurant reservations or projecting ads onto dashboards, car connectivity offers many possibilities for companies to make money. That initiative will likely override concerns of distracted driving or the loss of the car as a sanctuary from advertising.