An Open Letter to Prospective Restauranteurs on Planning for Access for People with Disabilities

wheelchair access

You’ve just closed on your dream restaurant and you want to open up four weeks from today! Congratulations, but you’ve got your work cut out for you between now and your grand opening.

What comes before appetizers and entrées? Access for people with disabilities.

In addition to menus, equipment, food, hiring staff and all the other miscellany of opening a restaurant, you have to ensure that ALL of your potential diners are able to safely and comfortably get into and out of your fine facility. A good place to start is at the entrance. This will likely include having an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant wheelchair ramp designed and installed before opening day. Fortunately, there are many resources to help you understand and meet all ADA requirements.

It is usually fairly straightforward to meet the specifications laid out by the ADA – rise of no more than 1:12, width of no less than 36″, etc. As a business owner, an equally important consideration is to meet the spirit of the law – that all people, regardless of their physical limitations, should have the same opportunities to go to their office, eat at a restaurant, tour a museum or enjoy a park.

If you are a business owner who has done everything possible in planning for access to ensure that anyone, regardless of their mobility limitations, is able to safely and securely enter and leave your facility, we sincerely thank you. You’ve made a wise business and moral decision.

If you or a family member has mobility limitations, and you have encountered public facilities that don’t allow you full, safe and easy access, please contact us so that we can create a plan to help the facility come into compliance.