Pubs and Disabled Access
Pubs and Disabled Access
Pubs and bars are popular destinations for people to socialise. Therefore, it is very important to make sure everyone feels welcome and can access your venue easily. If not, they are more than likely going to meet their friends and family elsewhere!
A lot of the UK’s pub dates from the Victorian era, if not earlier. As a result, these venues can feature narrow corridors, confined spaces, dimly lit rooms, and doorways that aren’t always easily accessible for people. That said, many of these pubs are being renovated, adapted and opened up to accommodate modern tastes and to meet the various needs of different users.
At Trust Inns we believe in equality, and this blog post is intended to help tenants understand the needs of customers.
Why be accessible?
In Britain, pubs are the home of hospitality and are vital to local communities across the county. Customer expectations are also increasing, meaning that tenants need to keep raising their standards to exceed these expectations and guarantee repeat business from outside the regular locals.
Pubs are places where customers visit for a variety of reasons. It may be for a quiet drink, a three-course family meal, karaoke or a quiz night. Adjusting your pub correctly will allow your much-loved British pub to be enjoyed by all.
It is extremely important to ensure that all parties with accessible needs feel comfortable at every stage of their experience at your pub. Following these tips and guidelines will help you achieve this.
1. Staff Training
It is paramount to train and ensure that all of your staff members are confident with disability awareness and know how to use disability facilities, services and equipment available. Being hospitable is all part and parcel of a great pub, so we’re sure that your staff are friendly and welcoming already!
When new staff members start, always make sure that they are familiar with all the information needed to access your pub hassle free. For instance, where to find the portable ramps, how to use hearing loops, keys for the accessible toilets and optional large print menus. Additionally, it is very useful if staff know local accessible public transport to help customers find the pub or get home safely.
Great customer service will always go a long way. Simple tasks such as taking drinks over to tables or offering table service when the bar is crowded are great ways to make people with disabilities feel much more relaxed and comfortable in your pub environment.
Staff team meetings can be a great way of delivering training, whilst listening to concerns or issues of staff. This can help boost morale and productivity too.
2. Outside Accessibility
It may be the case that there are steps to your pub, if so, is it possible to install a ramp for easier access? Or is there a side door? If not, ensure that you have a foldable ramp for visitors who need easy access. Make sure to keep it in an easy to reach place for efficiency. It’s a great idea to be able to see customers approaching your entrance to allow yourself to anticipate when you may need to set up your ramp. If you don’t have great visibility to your front entrance, some disability groups prescribe installing a doorbell with a ramp sign.
Try and make sure physical entry to your pub is as easy as possible. A great idea is to drop the kerbs outside of your pub if they aren’t already. Contact your local council or authority to find out more on this matter.
3. Adjust the Layout
It is very important to consider the layout of your pub to account for your access needs. Be clever and creative with your space, know the areas which should always be clear such as entrances, space between tables and the pathway to your toilets.
If any of these areas are obstructed, your pub environment can be frustratingly inaccessible to your customers. For example, a great accessible toilet is no use if it’s difficult to get to.
A great tip to consider, is to have moveable furniture. It is much better than fixed furniture as you can always create more space if needed.
4. Accessible Information Online
A very simple way to help customers with disabilities is to share your access information online. This could be on your website, Social Media Platforms or your Google My Business listing. The easier your information is to find online, the higher the chances are that people will decide to visit your pub.
As a pub, it is better to be upfront and honest with your customers regarding your accessibility information. Explain what you can and can’t offer as a pub, as this will help avoid any unexpected and bad experiences.
If you need any further information regarding this matter, contact Trust Inns today. We are more than happy to help.
5. Adapt your Food & Drinks Menu
Is your food and drinks menu easy to read? It can often be difficult to read menus, especially in low levels of light. It’s always a good idea to make sure that you have alternative formats, such as large print and easy to read versions.
It is also important that what is on your menu is a wide selection of choice for all types of people. Ensure that you have a range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Some customers with disabilities may attend your pub with a carer who won’t be drinking!
When producing an easy to read menu, think about what the customer would like. Design the menu so the language is simplified, break down information into short sentences and use images to represent food and drinks where possible. Do not use complicated fonts and italic, the design elements of your menu should be kept to a minimum.
Equality and Discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 consolidates anti-discrimination laws into a single Act and legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and wide society.
Customers with a disability are protected from discrimination under the Act. Discrimination, including harassment and victimisation. The Act ensures that employers are obligated to make reasonable adjustments to avoid putting those with a disability at risk. Reasonable adjustments can include providing a particular aspect of equipment or making structural modifications to aide an induvial. Those providing a service should determine whether someone is disabled, for instance, asking if anyone in the party has access needs.
You can find more information on the Equality Act at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/equality-act-2010-guidance