Like the Food & Beverage group in general, Food Services companies sell some of the most recognizable brands that span global markets and cultures — and feed millions of people worldwide every day. These companies spend billions of dollars annually on multi-media advertising and social marketing campaigns to reinforce corporate branding and gain mind share among consumers. But how well do their websites work?

To find out, the siteIQ team conducted Usability Index evaluations using the Food Services version of the siteIQ Best Practices Usability benchmark. This benchmark includes 161 questions across three major categories and eight distinct sub-categories.

These questions measure the overall practicality, versatility, and convenience of any given website. A second review recategorizes the 161 questions into 16 unique Usability Dimensions that illustrate how sufficiently each website allows users to achieve everyday tasks, objectives, and goals.

The results of these evaluations allow the team to rank and rate each site to determine the winner overall. This case study announces key findings for the Food Services industry segment based on Website Usability and Website Usability by Dimension scores. 

The websites evaluated in this segment include Darden.com, McDonalds.com, Starbucks.com, and Yum.com.

Industry Findings 

It doesn’t take much more than a few minutes of working with the data from our inaugural Food Services industry evaluations to realize that McDonalds.com stands alone as the leader of this segment. The site ranks first with a 5.6% margin of victory over its closest competitor, scores above 65% in half of all benchmark sub-categories, and ranks first in five out of eight of them.

What’s more, McDonalds.com scores above 65% — and ranks first in — thirteen out of the sixteen total Usability Dimensions we measure. Most impressive, McDonalds.com is 0.8% or less from achieving Good Practice status in nine out of the sixteen total Usability Dimensions, which is more than any other site in any other segment or industry that we’ve studied on the Usability Index thus far.  

In total, these factors make McDonalds.com a force to be reckoned with in the Food Services segment — and in the Food & Beverage industry overall. Still, McDonalds.com is far from perfect. Its search engine lacks filtering options and fails to identify result locations, which adversely affects McDonalds.com’s Usefulness of Resources & Features score. What’s more, McDonalds.com displays some issues when it comes to the Innovation & Interactivity Usability Dimension.

The handful of problems that McDonalds.com displays, however, are minor in comparison to those observed on other Food Service sites. Case in point, three sites — including Darden.com, Starbucks.com, and Yum.com — are entirely void of search facilities, so users have no alternate method for locating desired information if site navigation fails them – and Starbucks.com’s and Yum.com’s Navigation & Architecture scores that indicate it will. More problematic, Yum.com lacks Product Marketing information, so it’s missing out on the opportunity to effectively market the parent company’s restaurants and brands to visitors.

Of course, all these less than stellar sub-category scores adversely affect how Food Service sites perform based on Usability by Dimension. This is evidenced by the fact that Darden.com, Starbucks.com, and Yum.com all post inferior scores in Linking Conventions, Consistency, and Ease of Locating Content & Features.

Most troublesome, though, are the second rate scores that Darden.com, Starbucks.com, and Yum.com display in Thoroughness of Content, Ease of Using Resources & Features, Usefulness of Resources & Features, and Ease of Understanding Content. These sub-par performances indicate that Darden.com, Starbucks.com, and Yum.com don’t support user expectations, tasks, and objectives as well as they should.

Unfortunately, less than stellar sub-category and inferior Usability Dimension scores also mean that Darden.com, Starbucks.com, and Yum.com must undergo some significant usability improvements if they are ever to compete on the same level as McDonalds.com. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see if any of the teams managing these sites take action toward that objective — or decide that trying to catch up to the leader is a lost cause.  

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About the siteIQ Usability Index

siteIQ evaluated the 20 Food & Beverage Websites listed on the 2020 siteIQ Usability Index. These Websites are categorized into four industry-specific segments including:

  • Beverages (CBrands.com, Coca-Cola.com, KeurigDrPepper.com, PepsiCo.com)
  • Consumer Products (ConagraBrands.com, DeanFoods.com, GeneralMills.com, HormelFoods.com, KraftHeinzCompany.com, LandOLakesInc.com, TheHersheyCompany.com, TreeHouseFoods.com)
  • Food Production (CHSInc.com, Ingredion.com, Sysco.com, TysonFoods.com)
  • Food Services (Darden.com, McDonalds.com, Starbucks.com, Yum.com)

These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2020 edition of the siteIQ Usability Index Best Practices Benchmark, which tracks results in 8 sub-categories and 16 Usability Dimensions.

The 2020 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2020.

Category: Index Rankings

Class: Website Reviews and Rankings

Websites Profiled: siteIQ Usability Index Websites – Food & Beverage Industry

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