Top tips for making your restaurant accessible

Generic image of restaurant with low hanging lights.

Tips for restaurants

Restaurants are one of the most reviewed types of venues on Euan’s Guide and we love reading the experiences of others going for a meal with family or friends. According to respondents in our 2018 Access Survey, only 19% of people thought restaurants had good accessibility, and 2% thought access was excellent. This is clearly something that must change. Here are some questions to ask yourself, and tips on how to improve the accessibility of your restaurant.

Can disabled people get in?

The entrance to your restaurant 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. Also, advertising the fact you have a ramp is extremely helpful – this can be done on the website and with a sticker in the window. This means disabled people can visit spontaneously and enjoy your venue!

How do people book a table?

If you are a restaurant that takes bookings, then make sure that your booking system is accessible and gives people the option to let you know if they have any access requirements at the time of booking. It helps to have a number of booking options, if bookings are normally made on your website consider allowing people to also book over the phone or by email, whichever method is most convenient for them. Be sure to respond to any questions they may have so that they can determine if your venue is right for them.

What does your restaurant layout look like?

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. Also, tables with 4 legs are better than a central pedestal for wheelchair users. Otherwise they cannot get close enough to the table to eat. Bearing in mind some people cannot bend forward towards the table either. If your restaurant is buffet style consider if the food is reachable for wheelchair users, make sure the food is signposted clearly and accurately

Do you have a truly accessible toilet?

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 restaurant more accessible. An accessible toilet should clean and tidy! Cluttered toilets, slippery floors, heavy doors and un-secure locks and toilet seats are problems we hear about far too often. Make sure your venue avoids 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. If they are cut too short or tied up then it could prevent a person in distress from calling for help.

Exterior or restaurant with people's shadows against the wall.

Are your staff inclusive and friendly?

The friendliness and warmth of the staff can make or break a visit to a restaurant. Even if accessibility is not the best, helpful and kind staff make all the difference for disabled people. Also, if you have a red cord in your accessible toilet – make sure your staff are knowledgeable and comfortable with what to do in an emergency when the cord is pulled.

Make your menus and signs accessible

Easy to read, large print, and braille menus make it easier for visually impaired people to order. The menu’s font, text size and contrasting colours is very important. If you have a website, put your menu online for people to read beforehand, or on their mobile devices at the restaurant. Outside the restaurant, and even online, make sure all your signs and text are clear to read and have good contrast. This will help you be seen too!

Welcome assistance dogs

Customers may have an assistance dog that also need 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.


Image of restaurants till with ordering screen and plates next to it

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 specific and clear with the information you provide.

List on Euan’s Guide and encourage customers to review

It is free to list your venue’s disabled access information on Euan’s Guide. This will allow your venue to be seen by more potential customers. Our reviewers love to know about disabled access before they go. Including pictures of your restaurant, like the entrance, the toilet and the table arrangement on your Euan’s Guide listing is a great way to make sure potential customers know what to expect.

Tags: top tips, restaurants


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