Ben Koenig, owner of Heritage Eats in Napa, is one of 100 nationwide local business leaders who have been chosen by Yelp to attend its upcoming annual Coast-to-Coast Summit in November.
Yelp, based in San Francisco, publishes crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses and provides an online reservation service, Yelp Reservations, and online food-delivery service Eat24. The company also trains small businesses in how to respond to reviews, hosts social events for reviewers, and provides data about businesses, including health inspection scores.
"I was really happy," said Koenig, who is the only representative from Northern California invited to attend. "It's not something you can apply for," he said. "They just got in touch with me."
Koenig founded Heritage Eats in 2015, and said that social media has been an important way of connecting with the public, particularly with out-of-town visitors. "On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when we ask people, 'How'd you hear about us?' so many times the answer is 'We read about you on Yelp.'"
Koenig said visitors to Heritage Eats, which offers an international selection of tacos, wraps, salads and rice bowls in cafeteria-style service, have often noted they like the restaurant's careful and transparent sourcing of products. The restaurant also makes an effort to connect with locals by supporting charitable projects.
"We have really enjoyed entrenching ourselves within the Napa community through dine & donates, Parks & Rec events, Santa Claus on our patio and more," Koenig said.
Heritage Eats is at 3824 Bel Aire Plaza.