My wife has multiple sclerosis. She can still walk, with the help of a cane. Going out to eat is always an adventure, and the reason I am telling you this is that if you work in the restaurant genre maybe you’ll stop and take notice. Not just for disabled patrons, but for young children too.
We walk into a restaurant with our group and there’s usually a hostess podium with people standing around it. They see us and her with her cane and whoever we are with and (this has happened more than once) they proceed to walk to the far end of the restaurant. We pass by empty tables and booths and I wonder why we have to walk to the farthest end of the restaurant. It’s obvious that walking isn’t easy for her, and one of our comrades said can’t we sit in one of these open booths and the hostess was like sure, no problem. It was as if the thought never crossed her mind.
Do they actually have to have a clause for how to treat disabled people in their training to avoid situations like that? My favorite was the one who made us walk past an empty table and up a set of stairs. When asked why we didn’t get to sit in another booth we were told that this waitress’ section had an opening and the other section with the empty booth we would have had to wait 5 minutes for a waitress to pick it up. 5 minutes, or 5 steps? We’ll take the 5 minutes.
Then you have young children. Say you’re out for a nice meal and there are some families with young children who think they are at home because they are yelling, crying, or even running around like they are. Maybe, now this is just an idea, but the restaurateur should plan for the future and have an area where to sit the majority of children away from where the adult customers are. I’ve been to restaurants that do that and see it has worked out very well.
For children, it’s nice when a restaurant is prepared for their younger clientele by having booster seats and high chairs available to use at tableside. I mean they had to sit in a special car seat in order to get to the restaurant in the first place. They already had a plan for future excursions by having a car seat ready for their young ones. They are tiny and need a little help and it’s nice to see restaurants who care enough by keeping a few booster chairs and high chairs around. They may be only young children but they are patrons too. It’s hard to see a parent struggle with a child who has to sit on their knees or in their lap to eat at the table.
My wish is that a restaurant is prepared for their clientele, and has special training on how to treat customers who are disabled or have young children. They are out for a good time with their friends and families too. Let’s not rob them of their experience out by not being prepared.