COVID-19 restrictions that have governed our lives for well over a year have (finally) been lifted. This means that face coverings are now voluntary in all settings – including shops, hospitality, and public transport – customers don’t need to scan QR codes when entering restaurants, and businesses are no longer required to collect contact details for Track and Trace purposes.
Whilst it’s the news many of us have been longing for, some people are worried about negotiating their way through large crowds safely – particularly if they have additional accessibility needs or reduced mobility.
Here Level Access Lifts take a closer look at how you can make your eatery more accessible for paying customers and any other visitors.
5 ways to improve accessibility in your restaurant
- Widen walkways
As a restaurant owner, you want to make sure that your customers can make their way to their table without having to squeeze past anyone or trip over anything.
Widening walkways will make it easier for wheelchair users and those with walking aids to access the restaurant and available facilities, not to mention parents with prams.
If you have bar stools for customers to perch whilst waiting to order and pay, make sure that there is ample space for others to pass. And when the seats are not in use, they should be tucked under the counter neatly.
- Put one-way systems in place
During the pandemic, many venues introduced one-way systems to aid social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus.
Although the “one-metre plus” rule has been relaxed, it’s worth keeping these in place to stop people from congregating near entryways and allowing customers to access your business with ease.
You could use partitions to create separate walkways or, if available, use different doors for entrances and exits.
- Improve lighting and visibility
You may have the fanciest menu in town and your tables might be styled down to the last detail, but you’ll struggle to entice people through the door if the lighting is terrible!
Lighting is key in creating a mood or atmosphere and can help those who are visually impaired navigate their way around the restaurant. Make sure that all corridors, walkways, and staircases are well-lit.
It’s worth changing the lighting for specific times of the day – e.g. bright lighting for early morning, moderate lighting at midday, and low-intensity lighting to set the scene for romantic dinner dates and evening meals.
- Provide step-free access
Steps make it difficult for wheelchair users to access buildings, and a fall on the stairs often results in bumps and bruises, but the outcome can be much more serious – even life-threatening.
Where possible, it’s worth installing a low-incline ramp, elevator, or platform lift instead of steps.
As the UK’s leading provider of platform lifts – including vertical lifts that travel up to 15m, step lifts that travel shorter distances, and inclined platform lifts (stairlifts) that can be used indoors and out – we can help your business to create step-free access, without breaking the bank.
- Use goods lifts
If your kitchen is on the ground floor and customers will be seated on the first floor, having a goods lift will save staff having to balance stacked plates, cutlery, and drinks whilst negotiating the stairs and other hazards.
At Level Access Lifts, we provide dumb waiters that are an excellent choice for restaurant kitchens. Available in a choice of finishes and platform sizes, we can tailor them to include shelves or food heaters – ensuring that plates of food are delivered quickly and at the optimal temperature.
Ready to install a platform lift?
Great – whether it be indoors, outdoors, in your commercial kitchen, or anywhere else in your restaurant, our team would love to hear from you!
We have been supplying and installing platform lifts throughout the UK for a number of years and can assure you that all of our products come with a comprehensive 12-month parts and labour warranty, including servicing.