One of the most important goals of any restaurant is to provide a comfortable and inclusive experience for diners with disabilities. Unfortunately, guests with special needs can find their experience unnecessarily frustrating because restaurants do not fulfil all accessibility criteria. Lack of accessibility limits the restaurant experience for people with disabilities, particularly those who need a mobility aid. This blog hopes to explore how restaurants can provide the best experience for people using a mobility aid.
Restaurants can ease the difficulties of people using mobility aids by creating multiple accessible entryways to their restaurants. People with disabilities will be looking for easy access to entrances. Restaurants should establish flat entry areas, ramps as an alternative to steps, elevators for 2nd-floor businesses, automatic doors, and parking spaces designed for people with disabilities. When considering a restaurant, users will not choose to go to a restaurant that does not have an accessible entryway.
Moreover, the restaurant area must also be accessible for people using mobility aids. The City of Melbourne mandates that restaurants have enough room for a wheelchair to turn around, including a minimum 1m gap around all tables and pathways. Restaurants may not have expansive space because their space could be filled with chairs or tables. For instance, if a person using a mobility aid may require the bathroom, they can not access it when seated diners do not move their chairs. Thus, restaurant staff must be mindful of the space dedicated to guests using a mobility aid to move to different areas in the restaurants.
Most importantly, restaurant staff must be aware of special requirements for diners using mobility aids. Guidance from restaurant staff plays a crucial role in helping people using mobility aids navigate the restaurant's space. Thus, staff have to assist guests with mobility aids to be seated at tables that they can comfortably access. They also need to be available if the guests struggle to move to a certain space. By helping employees be prepared, restaurants can create excellent services for guests using mobility aid.
For people who use mobility aids, checking which restaurant to go to can be a hassle because they have to check whether the restaurant is accessible. Restaurants, thus, are responsible to have enough resources to assist diners using a mobility aid to access the restaurants. From having enough space to enter and navigate to training staff to assist people using a mobility aid, restaurants can become a more inclusive and accessible destination for people with a disability.