Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A Tale of Two Restaurants

Yesterday I was going out with for lunch with my team at work. We decided to go a get-together after the holidays rather than before. This way it would be less rushed and it would give a nice break in the bleak mid-winter. I had chosen the restaurant but, because of all the snow, I decided to give them a call about an hour before we left. When I called, the woman who answered, explained to me, when I asked about accessibility for a wheelchair, given the snow and the long walk from the parking lot to the restaurant. She said that she'd go and check. I told her that I appreciated her efforts.

She came back to tell me that the sidewalks were somewhat snow packed but she thought they'd be OK and she assured me that they'd get out a shovel and clear the ramp before I got there. I thanked her and hung up. It was only then that I realized that A) they were open and B) they didn't bother to shovel the ramp. While it was nice that they'd do it because they knew I was coming, wouldn't it have been nicer if they did the ramp at the same time that they did the stairs. I was also worried about the assessment of  a snow packed sidewalk being 'I think OK' ... because with narrow tires on my manual chair that can be very difficult.

I called another restaurant, same chain, a few minutes north. I spoke to someone there who was having trouble with my questions. "I'm wondering if the accessible options have been cleared of snow?" The reason he was having trouble was that he was offended. "Of course, we clear all entrances of snow every morning." I paused, realizing I'd almost insulted him with my question, I didn't want to get into an explanation of why I needed to ask. He filled the pause by explaining to me where the accessible parking was and the distance, in both feet and meters from the accessible spot to the door. OK. Good.

We went to the second restaurant, all ten of us.

Accessibility is good business.

Plain and simple.


Kris S. said...

I seem to recall one of my heroes once saying something along the lines of "Never be grateful for that to which you are entitled."

Maggie said...

How delightful to hear that two restaurants in the same chain can be so different, and so geographically close together.

Maybe the manager of the second one can teach the first one a little something?

I'm glad your 10-person party went to the second one.

Janielle said...

The second one sounds much more accommodating.

Jayne Wales said...

I could enjoy a pizza and a drink rather than a gourmet meal with the right group of people in the right place. That's what eating out together is all about so the experience begins getting ready, anticipation of a good time etc. I say no more then about being welcomed as a customer and guest.

Christy C (DSW) said...

Hi Dave, I am in the Developmental Disability Program in college right now. I have been reading your blogs for the past two weeks and find them very interesting, and have learned a lot from your blogs. I am glad that you choose the second restaurant, but on the other hand, the first restaurant should have already shoveled the wheelchair ramp instead of waiting for you to call and request it. I hope one day everywhere will be accessible, and it becomes a priority to everywhere in the world, so everyone can be included and that it reduces less obstacles for people with disabilities so people can live a more independent enjoyable life.