Providing customers with great experiences should be the goal of every restaurateur. Part of the guest experience is influenced by the restaurant’s accessibility. Restaurant owners therefore should ensure their facilities are user friendly to all customers including those with disabilities.
Relook Your Layout
When planning the layout of your restaurant, be cognisant of the fact that guests may come in wheelchairs or with walking sticks. Create enough space between tables that allows for easy movement for everyone. Changes in floor levels may disrupt the movement of those who are wheelchair bound or the blind. Having only one even level will ensure ease of movement.
In order to help blind customers distinguish between the different areas of the restaurant consider using different materials in the finishings. For instance, you use different flooring between areas so that those who are visually impaired can hear or feel when they are entering into a different section.
Check Your Sound & Lighting
Another area to consider is lighting. Ensure your lights neither too bright nor too dim. Bright lights can deter certain customers. In contrast, dim lights could make it difficult for customers to read the menu or even see one another. This is especially true for those who have challenges with their vision. You wouldn’t want to make their visit to your restaurant a struggle.
The music in your restaurant should be set at a level that is comfortable for your type of restaurant and clientele. This also includes any sounds from videos or the television. Customers should be able to eat and hold conversations without shouting over the music. Hearing aids tend to pick up more sounds, therefore loud noises may be more pronounced for customers who use them. You can usually tell that the sound levels are too high if the music suddenly stops and you hear customers shouting in conversation even though they are next to each other. Another indication you should reduce your volume is when customers start complaining, but you don’t want to reach that stage. To improve acoustics, you consider adding tapestries to walls or upholster your furniture. This reduces the amount of hard surfaces which causes reverberation.
Train Your Staff
When customers come into your restaurant they are often met by the wait staff. This is when their experience with your restaurant begins. It’s essential that your staff are trained to handle all customers and be sensitive to their needs. Training should cover how to make people with disabilities feel comfortable and how to help them place their orders. For example, if there is a way to view the menu in a bigger font size, your wait staff should know how to set it up for customers and be able to confidently recommend it to those who may be visually impaired.
They should be able to hold friendly conversations with hearing impaired customers, advise them of the different noise levels in the restaurant and let the customers make informed decisions on where they would prefer to sit.
Improving your restaurant’s all round accessibility has the potential to attract repeat customers. In addition, it will help shape better customer experiences and might also lead to a growth in your sales.
Brand and communication expert,
Copywriter for Napkin