A look inside the New York office of Yelp, a $3 billion company that offers its 4,000 employees around the world some of the most incredible perks

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Hollis Johnson

When you think of an office, foosball tables, karaoke machines, beer kegs, and free snacks probably don’t come to mind … that is, unless you work at Yelp.

That’s right – those are just a few of the enviable perks Yelp offers its 900 New York-based employees.

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in San Francisco, the $3 billion company that allows consumers to locate and review businesses on its mobile app and website now has seven offices around the US and Europe, including one in the heart of Manhattan that Business Insider recently visited.

We went inside the Madison Avenue office to get a clearer picture of what the Yelp culture is really like. Here’s what we saw and learned:


Upon arriving at Yelp’s New York office on a Wednesday afternoon in August, we were greeted by Paul Reich, vice president of local sales, who would be our tour guide. Our first stop: the Yelp Café.

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Hollis Johnson

Reich said this is where Yelp’s New York employees — most of whom work in sales — can enjoy a caffeine break Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

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Hollis Johnson

The entire time we were there, loud, upbeat music was playing throughout the office. Reich told us that the playlists tend to be pretty eclectic: “We don’t know whether we’ll be hearing Brazilian or samba or even some heavy metal.” When we arrived at the office, “Rock Lobster” by the B-52s was playing.

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Hollis Johnson

Reich said music is a major part of the New York office’s culture. Case in point — the New York office recently added a karaoke machine. Once in a while, the Yelp team will head out to Koreatown to sing their hearts out at karaoke bars.

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Hollis Johnson

Other employees have formed a capella groups, rock bands, and hip hop squads, he told us. Once in a while, they’ll perform in this common area built to resemble New York’s High Line.

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The New York office is split across two floors. Each floor has four sales teams. Each team is named after a different area in New York City. For example, the first “neighborhood” we visited was Astoria.

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As we strolled through Astoria, we heard something unusual: the ringing of a gong. We learned each neighborhood has its own gong, and Yelp salespeople hit it whenever they close a deal.

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Hollis Johnson

Once the gong rings, everyone gathers around to cheer and high five the salesperson who made the deal.

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The office features a very open layout. Reich said Yelp doesn’t believe in going behind closed doors for most small group meetings, so it offers employees plenty of open spaces where people can sit down and talk.

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Hollis Johnson

This is one spot where Yelp employees can find quiet, away from the hubbub and noise of the neighborhoods. “We need to provide space that’s peaceful and serene,” Reich said. “This is just a peaceful, safe zone where we don’t play music.”

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Hollis Johnson

When all 900 people get together for an office-wide meeting, they typically gather in this spot outside the café.

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“One of the wonderful things about running a sales organization is the writing’s on the wall,” Reich said. “Everything is so transparent. Everyone can see how everyone is doing.”

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Stepping away from the sales floor, we came across a miniature Stonehenge-esque meeting spot, where small groups of employees can gather together to exchange ideas.

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Another whimsical feature — an indoor swing — was hanging nearby.

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Other perks we saw throughout the office included: incredible views …

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… a foosball table …

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… a personalized game of corn hole …

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… and table hockey. However, Reich said people tend to avoid playing games during the workday: “This is an interesting thing about our culture — we have all this fun stuff, but generally people grind during office hours. The only come in here unless they’re at lunch or it’s before or after hours. It’s very disciplined.”

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Hollis Johnson

Another sweet perk: free snacks. The New York office keeps a fully stocked kitchen for employees.

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Hollis Johnson

Yelp opened its first Manhattan location in 2008. Reich said the original office had exposed wires and no running water: “It was so low-budget.” They have moved twice since then. The current location is the third iteration of Yelp’s New York office.

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As Yelp grows, Reich has noticed some differences. However, he said the overall company culture hasn’t changed too much. Yelp’s core values are still authenticity, honesty, tenacity, being different, and playing well with others, he said.

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Hollis Johnson

Since most employees in this office work in sales, the vibe can be stressful at times. “It’s a difficult job, being an evangelist,” Reich said. “You’re calling people who often don’t want to talk to you. How do you counter that? With music, with love, with energy, and with support.”

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Hollis Johnson

Yelp recognizes its stand-out employees in its Hall of Fame, which features customized portraits of those who have exemplified Yelp’s core value of tenacity.

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Portrait themes include “The Big Lebowski” and awkward family photos.

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We also spotted a bunch of photos of this dog throughout the office. Reich told us that Darwin, a Vizsla, is the company’s “spiritual mascot.” If you’ve ever seen Yelp crash, you’ve probably seen him too (a picture of Darwin in a cage pops up when service goes down). He belonged to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. Unfortunately, Darwin died last year at the age of 10.

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Hollis Johnson

Our last stop on our tour was the office bar. Yelp employees don’t have to go very far for happy hour.

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The office’s “kegerator” bar featured a selection of craft beer. Reich said that people do stop by almost every day after hours.

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Reich noted that while the office has many fun perks, work is always prioritized.”Although we want to have fun, we put the premium on winning and being excellent in our roles,” he says. “Winning comes before fun, not fun before winning.”

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Hollis Johnson

Can’t get enough of Yelp’s New York office? Check out our Snapchat story of our tour.