Top tips for making your café accessible
COVID-19 update: Not all of these tips might be relevant at the moment while individuals isolate and practice social distancing. Something you can do is to make sure your disabled access information is listed online, on your own website and on Euan's Guide. It is also important to regularly check this information to make sure it is kept up to date. This is a great step in assisting anyone considering visiting your venue when it is safe to do so.
Cafés are popular amongst our reviewers and readers who are always looking for accessible new places to try out. With a range of venues available, having great disabled access can really make yours stand out to disabled people. Here are some tips for making your café more accessible.
Step free or ramp close to hand
The entrance to your café is so important for accessibility. If someone can’t get into your venue, how will they ever be a customer there? Step free and level access is the best way, but buildings aren’t always designed to accommodate this. If this is the case for your establishment, an easy to use ramp close to hand, and friendly staff who know how to use it, will work just as well.
An accessible toilet is a must have for disabled access. Especially in food and drink venues. Many disabled people have reported that without access to a disabled toilet, they will simply not go to a business or location. It should be high on the list of priorities to make your café more accessible.
Cluttered toilets, slippery floors, hard to open doors and un-secure toilet seats are problems we hear about far too often, make sure your venue is safe and welcoming by avoiding these common pitfalls. Another problem can be with the emergency cord being out of reach. If you have an accessible toilet with an emergency red cord, think about getting one of our Red Cord Cards, a reminder that red cords should be left to hang all the way to the floor, and not tied up in any way. If they are cut too short or tied up, this could prevent a person in distress from calling for help.
Space to roam
A common complaint from café users is how cramped many can be, and this issue is amplified so much more for wheelchair users, powerchairs users or people who use walking aids. Having wide spaces between tables and chairs for easy manoeuvring rates highly with our reviewers – making it a more pleasant experience for all involved. Failing that, staff who are willing and able to shift around furniture for any customers is a step in the right direction.
For wheelchair users, lowered counters are a welcome sight. Not only do they allow wheelchair users to see over the counter, ordering and exchanging payment becomes so much easier without a high counter in the way.
Friendly and warm staff
The friendliness and warmth of the staff can make or break a visit to a café. Even if accessibility is not the best, helpful and kind staff make all the difference for disabled people.
Menus and signs
Easy to read, large print, and braille menus make it easier for visually impaired people to order. Why not also make your menu available online so people can see it before they visit? Make sure all your signs and text are clear to read and have good contrast.
Customers may have an assistance dog in need of a drink. Create a welcoming environment by having water bowls available for them. We even have our own Euan’s Guide water bowls to help encourage your visitors to review your venue on Euan's Guide!
Cafés can be noisy places with music and multiple interactions taking place simultaneously. Consider if you need the background noise of a radio, music or a TV at all or use soft furnishings to absorb some of the excess sound. If you can't make your whole café quieter, consider creating a quiet zone or promote quiet times to help those with hearing impairments or others who are noise sensitive feel welcomed.
Be clear about your accessibility
Making it obvious what is and isn’t available at your business can lead to more visits from disabled people and less disappointment from those who do visit. Measurements such as door openings and number of stairs can mean the difference between someone being able to enter your café or not, so it is important to be really specific and clear with the information you provide.
List on Euan’s Guide and encourage customers to review
This will allow your venue to be seen by more potential customers and our reviewers love to know about disabled access before they go. Including information on your café’s accessibility and pictures of your establishment is a massive bonus so potential customers know what to expect.