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We Asked People With Disabilities to Name Small Things Restaurants Could Do to Better Accommodate Them. This is Their Wishlist.

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The Mighty was born in the Los Angeles area, home of the $18 burger that doesn’t even come with fries — come on, how are you going to play us like that? — but it wasn’t born yesterday; we all know how expensive it can be to operate any business, let alone a successful restaurant

From outfitting the space, supplying fresh foods, staffing back of house and front of house… it all adds up fast. So, perhaps by the time that expensive quote for making a building into a more ADA-friendly one comes into play, it feels like a corner that could be cut with a temporary solution or two. (Not going to say we agree with the mindset; just that, on some level, we get where it may originate.) 

Which is why, in looking for ways to improve the restaurant experience for disabled customers, we went small: asking our Mighty community, “What small things could restaurants do to better accommodate your disability?”

Don’t worry, owners of massive dining chains who are definitely reading this and sweating profusely right now: The answer to making a better disability-friendly space isn’t always “invest big bucks.” 

Now that you’ve had a moment to exhale, perhaps you could help us out by fixing some of these things up?

Here’s our community’s accessibility wishlist:

I’d love a quiet room. I get so overwhelmed.” – @fathousewife

“I really wish the music wouldn’t be so loud! I love music and want to hear it — but in the background. I hate yelling across the table to have a conversation. I have ME/CFS and fibromyalgia and am very sensitive to noise when I’m trying to have an intimate conversation. It’s really difficult to keep up.” – Wendy L.

“Bathroom doors that open easily and allow room for a walker or wheelchair to pass through.” – Ria

“Have ramps for those who have a hard time with stairs. I get short of breath and I can’t get around that well.”. – Shannon G.

“I wish the tables were about 2 inches taller, or they could add extensions to a regular table. My chair elevates so I can easily sit at tall tables. My grandfather was disabled and had these challenges. He said that he had every right as anyone else to dine out. He sat at an angle which is what I often do, or I knock all the drinks off our table.” – Doug C.

“I wish they could make the menu more readable.” – Stephanie T.

“Chairs with backs, always!” – Theo

“Even some outdoor dining could be safer and more comfortable. Usually the entrance to the deck is through the restaurant. Lights along floors would be so much safer —  for visual [disabilities] and unsteady balance.” – Deanna C.

“Padded seats covered in something soft, like not leather or vinyl.” – @kittieluv

“We need: better lighting, less busy flooring, less slippy flooring, more menus with allergies on them, and more space around chairs.” – Cindyellen R.

“I use a rolling walker and sometimes a wheelchair but I prefer booth seating as I have a hard time moving chairs close enough to the table.” – @mojosmom

What’s on YOUR accessibility wishlist? We’d love to hear from you! Log in or sign up for a Mighty account to add to the comments.

Originally published: July 26, 2022
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