5 Ways To Improve Accessibility In Restaurants

In Food, Wheel Delicious by Nathasha AlvarezLeave a Comment

two men at a restaurant/bar. One of the men is a high quad in a wheelchair.

Navigating the world as a physically disabled individual often means encountering challenges that many people don’t even think about. One of the most significant hurdles can be finding restaurants that are genuinely accessible. They are the perfect places for gatherings, if they’re accessible. But there’s good news: we have the power to make a difference. By advocating for change and sharing our experiences, we can help improve access in restaurants. Here are five ways to lead the charge and ensure that dining out is an enjoyable experience for everyone.

1. Harness the Power of Yelp

Yelp is more than just a platform for finding the best local food spots; it’s a powerful tool for advocacy. By leaving detailed reviews that highlight a restaurant’s accessibility—or lack thereof—we can provide valuable information to others in our community. Mention specifics like the presence of ramps, accessible restrooms, and seating arrangements. This kind of information is crucial for people making dining decisions.

I start my reviews informing the reader that I use a manual wheelchair. Sometimes, people assume that all wheelchair users have the same needs, don’t travel solo, and can’t appreciate delicious food. As a proud foodie on wheels, it’s my utmost pleasure to leave my reviews. You should too!

When you visit a restaurant with excellent accessibility features, praise them in your review. Positive reinforcement encourages these businesses to maintain and improve their standards. Conversely, if a restaurant falls short, a constructive critique can prompt them to make necessary changes.

2. Share on Social Media

Social media platforms are excellent for spreading the word about accessible places. Post about your experiences on Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. Use hashtags like #AccessibleDining and #InclusionMatters to reach a broader audience. Share photos and videos showcasing the accessibility features of the restaurant.

Personal stories have a significant impact. Share how a particular restaurant’s accessibility made your dining experience enjoyable. Conversely, if you encounter barriers, don’t hesitate to highlight these issues. Your posts can raise awareness among your followers and inspire change.

I created my own Instagram account for food. Click here.
I love sharing my tips, recommendations, and personal cooking stories on there. If you’re a foodie, let’s connect. If we want to make a change in the world, we must support our community.

3. Engage with Restaurant Owners and Staff

Direct engagement can be incredibly effective. If you find a restaurant that lacks proper accessibility, take a moment to speak with the manager or owner. Politely explain the barriers you encountered and suggest improvements. Many business owners are unaware of the challenges disabled patrons face and appreciate constructive feedback. It’s also a great idea to remind them about the law. This is my last resort when their face shows lack of interest in the feedback.

“Reality is that either they’re in compliance or they’re not.”

Nathasha Alvarez

On the flip side, when you find a restaurant that excels in accessibility, let the staff know how much you appreciate it. Positive feedback reinforces the importance of their efforts and encourages them to continue prioritizing accessibility.

4. Advocate Through Personal Networks

Word of mouth remains a powerful tool. Share your dining experiences with friends, family, and colleagues. Recommend accessible restaurants and explain what makes them great. Your personal endorsement can influence others to support these businesses.

Additionally, consider forming or joining local advocacy groups. These groups can collectively push for broader changes in the community, such as advocating for city ordinances that require better accessibility standards for all public places, including restaurants.

5. Mobilize the Community

There’s strength in numbers. Organize group outings to accessible restaurants. A large group of disabled patrons enjoying a meal together sends a powerful message about the demand for accessible spaces. It also provides a visible demonstration to other patrons and the restaurant staff of the importance of accessibility.

Consider coordinating events like accessible restaurant tours or dine-outs with local disability organizations. These events not only support accessible businesses but also highlight the need for more inclusive dining options.

Conclusion: Making Accessibility a Priority

Improving access in restaurants is not just about benefiting the disabled community; it’s about creating an inclusive society where everyone can enjoy dining out without barriers. By harnessing the power of Yelp, sharing on social media, engaging directly with restaurant owners, advocating through personal networks, and mobilizing the community, we can drive significant change.

Accessibility is a collective responsibility. When we share our experiences and advocate for improvements, we pave the way for a more inclusive future. Let’s continue to break down barriers and open doors, one restaurant at a time.

Together, we can ensure that dining out is an enjoyable and accessible experience for everyone. Are you ready to join the movement and make a difference?

What is your favorite restaurant? Let’s give them a shout out. Write it in the comments and tag them too.

If you’re into entertaining at home, check this article. These ladies are amazing hostesses. Click here.

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