Online Menus Impact Customer Decisions

Nearly 70% of U.S. diners say a restaurant’s website has discouraged them from visiting.

September 04, 2019

BALTIMORE—A large majority (77%) of U.S. consumers are likely to visit a restaurant's website before they dine in or order takeout or delivery, according to a new survey by MGH. Of that group, the survey found that 68% have been discouraged from visiting a restaurant because of its website, and slightly less (62%) said a restaurant's website discouraged them from ordering delivery or takeout from a restaurant.

Of those surveyed, 69% indicated the website specifically helped them decide if they want to dine in at the restaurant, while 43% visited a website to help make a takeout or delivery decision. Not interested in the menu items tops the list for why those surveyed wouldn’t go to the restaurant. About one-third have been discouraged from visiting a restaurant because the website was difficult to navigate (33%), menus were difficult to read (30%) or the website looked old or out of date (30%).

When ordering food for takeout or delivery, those website factors become even more important for diners. Forty-four percent have been discouraged to order takeout or delivery from a restaurant because the website was difficult to navigate, 36% because the menu was difficult to read and 35% because the website looked old or out of date.

Surveyed diners also noted the importance of mobile-friendly websites when ordering food from a restaurant. In fact, 56% of surveyed diners say that mobile-friendly websites are very important, and 36% say they have been discouraged from ordering food from a restaurant because the website wasn’t mobile friendly.

“A website is the centerpiece of any business—no matter the industry—so it's no surprise that photography places a huge role in encouraging or discouraging diners. Additionally, consumers are becoming more web savvy and have high expectations and short attention spans when it comes to the user experience,” said Andy Malis, CEO of MGH, in a press release. “Restauranteurs should take note of these key findings and evaluate their current website to determine if their website needs a refresh or confirm that what exists is working.”