The hospitality industry has had a tough time over the past few years. As well as dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw businesses being forced to shut their doors for a period of time, it has also had a cost of living crisis to cope with. These two things have caused many restaurants to close.
Research suggests that restaurant closures in the US & UK have risen by 60% in the past year alone. This is a shocking statistic that is unlikely to change any time soon unless things start to change. Thankfully, there are some things restaurant owners can do to improve their chances of staying open. One of these things is to make their restaurant accessible to all. If you want to know how to do this, check out our top tips below:
1. Think About the Layout
Perhaps the most crucial consideration when making a restaurant more accessible is the layout. When designing your restaurant, it’s essential to ensure that there is enough space for wheelchairs to manoeuvre. As well as this, you will also need to ensure the doorways are wide enough for wheelchair users to get through. If these customers cannot enter your restaurant easily, they will go elsewhere.
2. Think About the Furniture You Purchase
Lots of restaurant owners purchase dining tables and chairs because they like the look of them. However, not all of these furniture items are suitable for people with disabilities. For example, many of them are too low to fit a wheelchair under. Make sure you keep this in mind when buying furniture for your restaurant.
3. Make Sure Your Toilets Are Disabled Friendly
An accessible toilet is a must-have if you want people with disabilities to use your premises. Many disabled people refuse to go into restaurants that do not have a disability-friendly toilet on site.
4. Think About Your Menu
When creating a menu for your restaurant, there are several things you need to do to make it accessible to all. As well as making it easy to read for visually impaired people and/or creating a braille menu for blind people, you also need to consider the type of food you offer. For example, some individuals will only eat halal meat, and others are vegans. It’s a good idea to have dishes that cater to as many of these individuals as possible.
As well as this, it’s essential to think about people with certain health conditions or allergies when designing a restaurant menu. Suppose we take people with dysphagia (a swallowing disorder) as an example. These individuals would love to go out for a meal, but they struggle to find a restaurant that offers them food they can eat. To encourage people with this condition to come to your restaurant, finding out what food they can eat might be an idea. You could even go one step further and purchase a food thickener for dysphagia for them.
5. Provide Easy to Use Utensils
People with limited hand coordination may find it difficult to use standard cutlery. If you really want to make your restaurant accessible for all, consider purchasing some easy-to-use utensils for these customers.
Restaurant owners who want to survive the cost-of-living crisis are having to look for new ways to attract customers to their business. One way they can do this is by making their business more accessible. Follow our tips above to make your business more accessible and increase your chances of success.