6 Ways to Make Your Restaurant Disability-Friendly ─ From Furniture to Menus

Running a restaurant comes with plenty of perks, but it can also be a bit challenging at some times. There are so many things to consider, keep in mind, and deal with daily, but there is no better feeling when guests leave the restaurant with a smile on their faces.

Now, to set and arrange everything so that every guest will be delighted is simply impossible, as there will always be at least one customer that will find some issue.

On the other hand, most restaurant owners don’t know how to accommodate people with disabilities, which is something these tips should be of much help with.

Make More Room for Guests

Source: today.com

Okay, this tip probably works for every restaurant, as sometimes, there is just no room for passing by. Also, sometimes, even though there is enough room to walk casually, not afraid to stumble across somebody, the tables and chairs are set too close, so any kind of romantic or private conversation is impossible.

With this mentioned, having wider aisles will give guests enough room to walk freely and feel much better overall.

Yes, there is a determined and approved clearance by the ADA, which requires 30 inches of it on either side of an aisle for wheelchair access, but that doesn’t mean that you should stick to that.

The more comfortable guests at the restaurant feel, the more likely they will come back once more. This is how restaurants get regular customers, and we all know how big of a deal it is to have such clients.

On the plus note, we should never forget that we live in a digital world where even one bad post and review can have devastating effects.

On the other hand, you can use this to your advantage, and by providing enough room and space for guests, you will surely get a much higher rating and be better placed on the rank stats given by customers.

Consider the Menu

The menu is the key component of every restaurant, meaning that even though the food and service are important, it’s also of vast importance that the menu is greatly designed.

Yes, this is where it all starts, and once customers start checking out the menu, even the best and most tasteful meal in the world will not interest them if it is not well described.

As for people with disabilities, once you decide how the menu will look and how descriptions of the meals should be, it’s advised to use Braille as well. It is a system of raised dots used by vision-impaired people to read with touch.

Also, it’s good to do this for every sign and at every place you think is important, as this will be of much help to people with disabilities.

Hire Trained Employees

Source: today.com

Every job seeks a certain set of skills and education, and the same goes for restaurants. Namely, what you want as the owner is experienced employees, but sometimes, finding such employees can be a bit challenging. Of course, there is no need to despair because there are plenty of classes and courses you can pay for your employees to learn more about how to behave with people who need help.

Many people forget about how important is timing, which is also something employees can learn more about with proper training.

Awareness training about disabilities and how to help and facilitate people with disabilities is of vast importance, and once you help employees learn more about this, experiencing an unpleasant situation at your restaurant will simply not happen.

Above all, providing proper training to employees will create a much stronger bond, meaning that employees will gladly come to work and be more eager to really give their best.

Behave Naturally

One of the most common mistakes people make when talking to and serving people with disabilities is treating them differently. Doing this can be more than counterproductive as, for starters, it’s simply not your natural behavior.

It means that such behavior is easily noticed and that any time such a thing happens, it creates an awkward situation, which is not a mood you want guests at your restaurant to be in. Proper and pleasant guest treatment is the goal of every restaurant.

So, when a disabled person enters, be sure to greet them just like you would any other guest.

They are fully aware they have a disability, so there is no need to make them feel like they stand out. The only thing where acting differently is advised is in situations when it’s clear that the person simply requires some type of help, which is something employees can learn more about via training.

Accessibility is the Key

Source: today.com

We have already mentioned the space and how wide the aisles should be, but it’s also about getting into the restaurant, which, unfortunately, at most of them, is badly designed.

Another key insight is to accommodate disabled people by creating separate bathrooms, as this will give them more space and privacy. Remember, you sell the experience, and even if one thing is lacking, it can be bad for business, which is why running a restaurant is such a challenging task, not made for everyone.

So, to help people make the most out of their time at your restaurant, give them all the possible things they might need and want. Once this is achieved, the success of the restaurant should never be in doubt.

Give Them More Time

Most people with disabilities need more time to settle, which is not something most people have patience with, and this is something that must change. Yes, in order to earn more, serving and accommodating as many people as possible is the key, but not at all cost.

By setting some time aside and giving people a bit of privacy, space, and time, we get to a point where people with disabilities feel comfortable, which is something we want every guest to feel like.

So, if some customers need a bit more time to settle and decide what to order, make sure to give them that time, as this can only be good for business.