As we’ve seen in our recent article exploring ADA compliance for retail store construction, ADA guidelines help keep public establishments accessible to all. For restaurant construction, there are just as many considerations to keep in mind in order to build an eatery where individuals with disabilities can dine in and/or be employees. Some of the ADA guidelines for retail stores overlap with restaurant construction requirements, but here are a few more specifications unique to restaurant settings.
A restaurant must provide accessible spaces in its parking lot that are at least 8 feet in width. Designated spots should be on a level surface with a slope of 2 percent or less. There must be at least one accessible parking spot for every 25 parking spaces in a restaurant’s lot. In addition, appropriate accessibility signage should be installed to designate accessible parking spaces. These should not be easily obstructed from view by other vehicles and may include penalty warnings for those who improperly use the parking spots.
Doors and Entryways
Restaurant construction contractors account for appropriate ramps or lifts leading up to the building’s entrance. Therefore, it makes sense that the door opening should accommodate sufficient width for people with wheelchairs or other mobility devices to cross the building threshold. The opening should be at least 36 inches wide. For doors, power-assisted opening doors are helpful. In cases where these aren’t feasible to install, loop-handled or lever-handled doors are preferred alternatives. Handles should not require turning or squeezing to open.
Self-ordering stations or kiosks are a popular restaurant trend, but not considering ADA compliance can land you in legal troubles. Be sure that these kiosks are physically accessible with those with mobility impairments, similar to how counters should leave space for customers with wheelchairs. Also, consider whether your equipment is enabled with features like braille or audio capabilities to serve those with vision impairments. If this equipment is not worked into your restaurant construction, be sure to have an employee readily available to assist disabled patrons with personalized ordering and pick up needs.
Tables and Seating
Restaurant construction may entail installing fixed tables — attached to the wall or the floor — of which 5 percent of the tables should be suitable for dine-in guests in wheelchairs. In smaller restaurants with less than 20 tables, at least one table must be wheelchair accessible. The tabletops should measure no higher than 34 inches in height, similar to countertop measurements.
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