FoodHow Restaurants Can Support Customers With Disabilities
Major food critic to add accessibility info to reviews
Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema already gives readers details about a restaurant’s noise level, hours, prices, and of course, what’s on the menu. Now he’ll also add accessibility information to that list as well. In a post yesterday, Sietsema explained that readers with disabilities often contact him to ask about restaurants’ accommodations for people using wheelchairs, or blind people. He writes that while he initially had concerns about the viability of remaining under-the-radar while inspecting doorways with a tape measure, “the facts outweigh the cons.
Crab legs are one of my favorite things to order when eating out at seafood restaurants. Due to my disorder, acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), I only have the use of my right hand, and it’s quite weak. As one might imagine, cracking crab legs is nearly impossible for me to do on my own. Being a crab leg lover, I’ve dealt with the scenario I’m about to describe a few times…
I was with my extended family eating at The Black Marlin on Hilton Head Island. I love this restaurant, so I’m not trying to give them or our server bad press at all. Our server handled the situation well, but my point in sharing this story with everyone is that I wishdidn’t have to be such a big production. Able-bodied people often don’t understand that people with disabilities face endless obstacles when out in public, and if society implemented even the smallest of changes and accommodations, it would be much easier for us to live independently.
Kids with disabilities can now get special Halloween costumes at Target
Parents of children with disabilities often go out of their way to make creative Halloween costumes. This year, they will have the option to buy them at a big-name store. Target's Hyde and Eek! Boutique has unveiled two Halloween costumes adapted for wheelchair users. The company hopes they'll help even more children take part in the holiday fun. One of the collection's wheelchair covers transforms the chair into a purple princess carriage. The other turns the chair into a pirate ship, complete with a Jolly Roger flag and waves for the wheels. The matching wheelchair covers are sold separately.
Since I was eating with my family, I could have asked one of my family members to crack my crab legs for me, but the process takes a while and causes both me and the person helping me to start eating after everyone else. Plus, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to dislike having people at my table help me with tasks that able-bodied 17-year-old girls are able to do themselves. So as a solution to this, I’ve started asking my server if my salads could be brought out chopped and if my crab legs could be brought out cracked.
I had a great experience with a waitress at Red Lobster who happily brought out both mine and my disabled friend’s crab legs cracked, and I’ve also had a bad experience at Red Lobster with a waitress who outright refused to crack my crab legs even though I told her I have a disability. I did report that second instance, and it was dealt with appropriately.
Is It Legal for Restaurants to Include Mandatory Tip?
Tips and services charges aren't synonymous. The post Is It Legal for Restaurants to Include Mandatory Tip? appeared first on Reader's Digest.No law exists requiring customers to leave a tip, according to Abe Cohn, Managing Partner of Cohn Legal, PLLC. If something is mandatory, it's technically not really a tip, according to Jordan Bernstein, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing chefs and hospitality practices. The IRS defines a tip as something optional or extra that only the customer determines, Bernstein says.
This time, at The Black Marlin, I didn’t have a bad experience, per se — I just wish requesting accommodations at restaurants — and everywhere else — didn’t make me feel awkward and like I’m an annoying, demanding customer. Upon ordering my crab legs, I asked our server if he could bring them out cracked. I held my breath as I awaited his response, because there’s no telling how a server might react. Thankfully, he said yes, for which I was grateful.
However, when the food was brought out, my crab legs were placed in front of me not cracked. I thought about telling him, but I wasn’t brave enough, so my aunt offered to help me crack them. Before she could, though, the server noticed and kindly offered to take them back to be cracked. I let him, bummed I had to wait to eat, but I was pleased he was going to fix the issue. A few minutes later, he returned with my crab legs, only they still were not cracked.
“The chef sliced them down the middle,” he told me. “Is that OK or do you want them fully cracked?”
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“Can you please crack them? I just can’t do it myself,” I explained.
He nodded and took them back. A few minutes later, he returned again, and thankfully, my crab legs were fully cracked this time. I was pleased he had listened to me and accommodated me, but I wished it hadn’t taken so long for my request to be fulfilled. By the time I got my plate and began eating, many of my family members had already finished eating. The situation really wasn’t that big of a deal, as our server was kind about it and I did eventually get my crab legs cracked, but I just wish restaurants could become more familiar with these types of requests.
When I go out to eat, I want to feel and be as independent as possible, and having the server bring my crab legs out cracked makes a huge difference. I don’t ever want to beand have to ask my boyfriend to help me with my food, so restaurants providing this minimal assistance truly helps disabled people like me a lot. It seems like servers won’t completely understand the request unless I tell them I have a disability (which I shouldn’t have to share about myself to receive accommodations). I hope through sharing my experience, servers will become more aware of situations like this in the future.
Being fully independent while living with a physical disability can be a challenge for many, so little accommodations like this, though they may seem small and like they’re not a big deal, really do make a difference.
How the Elderly and Travelers with Disabilities Can Still Visit Cuba.
Travelers who need accessible accommodations can travel under the "Support the Cuban People" travel category.
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