Marketing communications agency MHG has released the results of a survey it conducted of US restaurant goers, ages 18 and up, who dine in or have takeout or delivery at least once a month. Overall, the survey found that 77 percent of those surveyed said they are likely to visit a restaurant’s website before they dine in or order takeout or delivery. Of that group, the survey found that nearly 68 percent have been discouraged from visiting a restaurant because of its website and slightly less (62 percent) said a restaurant’s website discouraged them from ordering delivery or takeout from a restaurant.
 
69 percent of those surveyed say the website specifically helps them decide if they want to dine in at the restaurant. 43 percent visit a website to help decide if they want to order takeout or delivery from a restaurant. While not caring for menu items is still the main reason those surveyed (65 percent) are discouraged from visiting a restaurant, other factors are also important. About one-third have been discouraged from visiting a restaurant because the website was difficult to navigate (33 percent), menus were difficult to read (30 percent), or websites looked old or out of date (30 percent).
 
When ordering food for takeout or delivery, those website factors become even more important for diners. 44 percent have been discouraged from ordering takeout or delivery from a restaurant because the website was difficult to navigate, 36 percent because the menu was difficult to read, and 35 percent because the website looked old or out of date.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 percent of surveyed diners say that mobile-friendly websites are very important. 36 percent say they have been discouraged from ordering food from a restaurant because the website wasn’t mobile friendly.
 
Not surprisingly, photography also plays a key role. 45 percent of surveyed diners say they specifically look for photos of food when visiting a restaurant’s website. 36 percent say the food photography is what discouraged them from visiting a restaurant.
 
Taking a closer look at responses from Gen Z and millennials:
 

  • 59 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 55 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds specifically look for photos of food on a restaurant’s website.
  • 50 percent of 18-to-24-year-old diners and 44 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds who say a restaurant’s website has discouraged them from visiting the restaurant say it’s because the food photography was not enticing.
  • 49 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds and 41 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds who order takeout or delivery say a restaurants website has discouraged them from ordering food.
 
“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,” says Andy Malis, CEO of MHG. “Additionally, consumers are becoming more web savvy and have high expectations and short attention spans when it comes to the user experience. 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.”

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