Venue Accessibility – Concessions and Bars

Although complicated, accessibility is far from an unsolvable challenge.

Disabled Spectator is committed to revolutionizing the way people with disabilities, their family and friends enjoy entertainment and sporting events at public venues. There are a number of ways we’re going to achieve this. However, our two primary focuses are on improving the accessible seat ticket purchasing process and gathering and providing venue accessibility information.

Venue accessibility is essential for people with disabilities attending live entertainment events. Without venue accessibility, people with disabilities are denied their right to enjoy music, sports, theater, etc., like their non-disabled counterparts.

Ensuring their venue is accessible is a challenge many venue management groups face. What makes accessibility seem complicated and challenging is the fact that there are so many different kinds of disabilities, thus each person with a disability has their own accessibility needs. Regardless, it’s possible to account for almost everyone’s accessibility needs, or at the very least, provide additional service during events to patrons with disabilities.

One way venues could tackle accessibility issues is by addressing each phase customers go through while attending, and looking at specific accessibility features that apply to that phase. We plan on doing something similar with a series of blog posts.

Today, we’re going to focus on concessions at venues.

Concessions – What To Consider

An accessible concession stand needs to be accessible for a variety of people with disabilities. Therefore, there are many things to do consider. The countertop, location of condiments, menu, and how the line is structured are all important. If one isn’t accessible, the concession stand cannot be considered accessible.

The countertop needs to be at an appropriate height. It can’t be too tall for wheelchair users. If the countertop is too tall, some with disabilities may not be able to see the menu or take what they ordered. The same goes for the stand holding the condiments. This stand needs to be at an appropriate height.

The location of the condiments is important, as well. They should not be located far away. Everything should be reachable, which is where the issue of height comes in.

The menu should be clearly legible, with a large bold font, at an appropriate height. The menu’s color combination should not make the items illegible. Ideally, the menu will be located in a number of spots. Lastly, the concessions stand should make their menus available in braille.

The line structure should meander in an accessible way. The line should not be at a slope, and if there are rails separating customers, the pathway created by the rails should be wide, as should the turns.

Finally, the location of the concession stands their selves are important. They should not be located far away from seats. There should be a clear path towards them from the seats that are free of obstacles. The concourse pathway must be smooth and flat. This is important for those with mobility devices or anyone who finds it difficulty walking long distances or uphill.

For concert halls, similar things need to be considered. It’s unlikely there are concessions in concert halls, but there may be a bar and the above points stand. The menu needs to be accessible. There needs to be a clear area to order with a counter not too high. The pathway to the bar can’t be on a slope or have steps leading up.

As mentioned above, accessibility might be a challenge but it is far from unsolvable.

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Josh Appel
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