Are we discriminating towards guests with disabilities? Accessibility analyses of public restaurants facilities in the Republic of Slovenia

Keywords: accessibility, barriers, restaurant industry, guests with disabilities (GWD), Slovenia


Previous studies have not considered the importance of managers’ perspectives for assuring accessibility, and no international benchmarking standards for public restaurant accessibility assessment exist. This study aims to: (1) Propose a holistic evaluation framework for the overall (physical, functional, and communicational) assessment of restaurant accessibility; (2) Identify managers’ perceptions of accessibility; and (3) Determine differences in restaurant accessibility according to managers’ and restaurants’ characteristics. This study was conducted in two stages: literature and legislative analyses and exploratory research using focus groups (the national disability organisations representatives) and field research. The European (EU) and the national legislation were thoroughly analysed and compared to the Americans with disabilities act (ADA). A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 180 managers of small and medium-sized (SME) restaurant enterprises in Slovenia. Bivariate and cluster analyses (CA) were used. Two clusters of restaurants (less and better accessible) were identified. Results indicate that physical barriers, though strictly regulated at the EU level, still present a significant shortcoming in providing accessible services. Functional and communicational barriers prove less problematic. Results also reveal that more accessible restaurants are bigger, have more employees, invest more in IT, and their managers have greater understanding and skills in this area. The evaluation tool enables a holistic approach to accessibility analysis by following the guest’s logical movement path. Besides stricter control, policymakers, interior designers, and restaurant service providers should collaborate closely with disability organisations. Restaurant service providers should be trained on disability issues.


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