A blind woman sued Five Guys claiming its website could not be used by blind customers and was in violation of federal ADA laws that apply to places of public accommodation. There were available technologies but the restaurant chain did not implement any of them on its website. In particular, its ordering system posed barriers to use by blind customers. The restaurant chain argued that the ADA only applied to physical laces and was not intended to apply to websites. The court did not agree, finding that the website was covered by ADA as an independent place of public accommodation or via its close relationship as a service of its brick and mortar restaurant. There were court decisions in 2012 and 2015 that found purely online services could qualify as places of public accommodation and therefore subject to ADA.
The court also would not dismiss the case based on Five Guys efforts to update the website to address the accessibility issues. The noncompliance continues until the website successfully completes the website changes so the case was not moot at the time of the request.
Restaurants, bars, and craft breweries should consider updating their website to include assistive technology for visually impaired website users.