Restaurants and ADA Compliance: Websites

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You may think that ADA lawsuits only target physical accessibility at your restaurant. You’d be wrong.

In the first half of 2018, ADA Title III lawsuits are up 30 percent over 2017, and many of them are brought for accessibility issues online rather than onsite. What’s more alarming is that many courts seem to be ruling against companies over website access problems.

There is a recent case brought against Dunkin’ Donuts for not having a website compatible with screen-reading software used by a customer who is blind. The judge in that case ruled against Dunkin’ Donuts, on the basis of public accommodation.

That’s because a restaurant’s website facilitates the use of that business, and restaurants are subject to public accommodation laws. Therefore, if the website isn’t easily accessible to a person who requires help to get the information posted there, it means that the business is discriminating against disabled customers.

Fortunately, members of the CRA have access to a free website scan to determine if there are any accessibility issues. Through a partnership with the National Restaurant Association and DigiPro Media, you can get quick feedback on over 600 data points, such as whether or not images are “readable” by assistive technology and whether spelling errors or acronyms cause confusion for readers.

You may find that you’ll be able to fix many of the issues yourself. If not, DigiPro Media can work with your web development company to make your site functional and compliant. Members of the CRA receive a discount on DigiPro Media services if they choose to work with them to update their website.

With almost 60 million disabled Americans as potential customers, restaurants must be aware of all ADA compliance requirements. You can read our Industry Insights on ADA compliance for websites and How to provide equal access for service animals and people with disabilities for more details.