The economy is changeable, and there may be turbulent times ahead. Uncertainty makes many businesses vulnerable and this is particularly true of the hospitality sector. Bars and restaurants are particularly sensitive to economic shifts, particularly regarding rising food prices and to changes in consumer habits. If people start tightening their belts then spending on hospitality suffers.
It is therefore crucial that bars and restaurants hold on to their existing customers and look for new ones. And they definitely should not disregard the potential spending power of the disabled.
Do Disabled Customers Feel Welcome?
For people with disabilities, there are a whole range of issues to consider when planning a night out. These include finding a venue that has suitable access and disability provisions.
“Venues may be excluding customers simply through neglect,” Paul Green of Versatile Lift Company observes. “If they have inadequate provision for access then they aren’t going to attract disabled customers, and may actually put people off if they have a bad experience when visiting.”
There are positive signals from other quarters however. DesignMyNight publishes online information about bars with disabled access in different UK cities.
“Bars and restaurants should be actively competing for disabled custom,” Paul says. “The, so-called, purple pound is worth some £2.12 billion and, in uncertain economic times, every pound spent counts.”
The Risks Being Run
Reputation is everything in business. Having the reputation of not being able to cater for a diverse range of customers will not help bars and restaurants compete in a crowded market.
“Businesses face a number of challenges, including the constant squeeze on margins. They shouldn’t lose sight of either their social responsibility or the potential spending power of the disabled,” Paul remarks.
Paul’s business, Versatile Lift Company, provides a range of bespoke access solutions across a range of sectors, including education and hospitality. Paul is very much aware of the obstacles people with disabilities people face every day. And of the challenges to businesses to be able to provide good access for them.
“It’s not always easy, but it’s never impossible,” Paul concludes, “and the rewards are significant for all parties. Exclusion isn’t a good thing, and bars and restaurants should be working hard to ensure they can welcome everyone.”
If you like to discuss the options for improving inclusion at your venue, please call Versatile Lift Company on 0800 028 1972 or visit versatileliftcompany.co.uk.