Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 2015

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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4 8 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 5 include as many signifers that telegraph a transition is happening as possible. Lights at the step, changes of material and/or color, pattern contrasts and hand- rails all help to signify there is a change in foor height." In designing dining rooms, Thile- nius also constantly keeps wheelchair access in mind. When creating the table layout, for instance, he does so with the chairs pushed back from the tables — as they are when someone's sitting in them. This helps Thilenius allow ample room between the chairs and tables for a wheelchair to pass through. A side beneft of this space is it gives each table plenty of privacy, he adds. In fast-food and fast-casual restau- rants, it's vital to consider the height of the trayline, says Dan Kwan, senior vice presi- dent and managing director of Wilson As- sociates in New York City and the founder of Blueplate Studios. "We make sure the trayline is at the same height as a walker. It's ideal for wheelchairs, too, though a bit low for able bodied people – but they bend more easily." Also make sure the food assembly line is less than 3 feet high, which some- times involves dropping the foor behind the trayline, Kwan explains. Doing so provides employees behind the line with easy and ergonomic access. "This makes a huge difference for servers, especially if they are on their feet all the time." Some people in wheelchairs, how- ever, can walk short distances. Because of this, Kwan incorporates wheelchair parking areas in some of his midscale restaurant projects. "We make it look like a lovely trolley park with a concierge — it's tucked away behind the reception or concierge. It's not visible," he says. Bathrom Basics When considering special needs, bath- room design becomes equally important. The space must allow suffcient room, namely a 5-foot turning circle, for a wheelchair to turn around as well as space for other people in the bathroom. Thilenius also makes sure the doors aren't too heavy to push from a seated wheelchair position. Because of this space requirement, sometimes bathrooms become larger than With Cofot and Safety fo All Designers suggest simple strategies for making diners with special needs more comfortable. Among them are light, bright restrooms with contrasting colors, tables spaced with plenty of room between them to provide wheelchair access, and seating that includes high-backed booths for support and noise control.

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