Towards a Functional Model of Website Evaluation: A Case Study of Casual Dining Restaurants


communication technologies, hospitality services, tourism, internet marketing, catering industry


Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to propose and apply a conceptual model that can be used to evaluate the functional performance of hospitality and tourism websites. This model will evaluate the websites from the perspective of information provision, communication, transactions, relationships, and technological merit, and how that applies to overall website functionality.

Design/methodology/approach– The paper uses a case study methodology in order to evaluate a random sample of the top 400 casual dining restaurant chains of 2007. The casual dining restaurant segment is chosen because of its importance in the overall foodservice industry, as well as its predominant use of websites.

Findings– Restaurant websites appear to be fairly strong in providing information in a technologically savvy environment. The areas that are found to be lower in functional efficiency are communication, relationship, and transaction. The three lowest‐rated individual attributes of the websites studied in the current research are the use and functionality of banners, reservations, and language on the websites.

Research imitations/implications– As a case study, the limitations of this research are that the findings cannot be generalized to all restaurants because only a sample of casual dining chain restaurants is used. In addition, the model evaluated all of the components of the websites as being equal with the understanding that different website components weigh differently in their importance with consumers.

Practical implications– The implications of the paper are critical for website developers and hospitality organizations as the analysis shows that there is still a gap between customer perceptions of restaurant websites and the potential to use the website to engage and connect with guests. The paper will give industry practitioners some insight into the perceptions regarding the usability of their websites in order to allow the organizations to make changes accordingly.

Originality/value– The paper is pioneering in developing and proposing a conceptual model of website evaluation and applying this theory‐supported conceptual model to the casual dining chain restaurants website evaluation

Publication Date


Original Citation

Gregory, A., Wang, Y.C., DiPietro, R. (2010). Towards a Functional Model of Website Evaluation: An Application on Casual Dining Restaurants. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes. 2(1), 68-85.

Number of Pages


Document Type




Source Title

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes






Rosen College of Hospitality Management


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

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