Restaurant ADA Handycap Table Compliance and Requirements

Restaurant ADA Handycap Table Compliance and Requirements


So, you want to open a new restaurant? Or perhaps you need to upgrade your current restaurant accessibility by following the ADA restaurant requirements. After all, no one wants to get dinged by those hefty federal fines of not being compliant or risk not having the proper space for all walks of life to enjoy a nice meal.


All in all, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been an excellent way to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities and ensure they receive equal opportunity. In order to do that, this law asserts restaurants take the right layout and protocol measures to guarantee those with disabilities/handicapped get to have the same experiences that are available to others. Nonetheless, reading the concept of ADA restaurant requirements is one thing, and actually implementing the compliances is another. Because things like ADA table compliance is a necessity to run a successful restaurant, below is a comprehensive (and simple!) overview of the ADA restaurant requirements so you can secure a good standing.


ADA Restaurant Requirements for Customers


Gaining the max restaurant accessibility not only relies on fostering an inclusive business culture, but also restructuring the architecture of your restaurant as a whole. Now, that sentence may have freaked you out a bit, but embarking on those chances to become ADA compliant is not nearly as difficult as it may seem.


ADA Table Compliance – From seating, tables to counters, you need to make sure that there is restaurant accessibility for those in wheelchairs. To support this, the ADA table compliance regulations state the following:
  • 5% of tables (or 1 if you have 20 tables or less) in the restaurant must be handicap accessible.


  • There must be 30" of width/depth space under the table and between legs, along with at least 19" of under-table depth clearance from the table edge to the middle.


  • Height regulations must be 28" min to 34"H max with a 27” to 29” height clearance under the table (with an industry standard of a 30”x48” table, it makes this height regulation work perfect).


  • There must be at least 36" of aisle space between any fixed seating and in either a T or a 5-foot circle layout to make turning around easy.


  • ADA Parking – Along with the ADA table compliance regulations, you also have to pay attention to your parking area. In short, the ADA mandates that handicapped customers have enough space to enter and exit their vehicles in spaces close to the restaurant entrance. As a general rule of thumb here:


  • There needs to be 1 handicapped parking space for every 25 spots.


  • Of those, 1 out of every 8 accessible spots must be 8ft wide to support vans.


  • All handicapped parking must be on a flat surface with no more than a 2% slope.


Restaurant Entrances – Lastly, another big element of the ADA restaurant requirements to optimize overall restaurant accessibility is the main entrance. For instance, ADA mandates that your entrance features a 36" min wide ramp with a 2% slope. If your ramp happens to be over 6ft long, then you also have to add 34" to 38" tall handrails as well. Furthermore, the restaurant doors themselves must be at least 36" wide to accommodate wheelchair access. As a final note here, it helps if your doors are 5lbs or less to make opening and closing easier and using either a loop or lever style handle (panel and knob style handles are not ADA compliant).


Bonus Tip: Make sure not to forget about ADA requirements for bathrooms! It’s not part of the dining room per se, but it does need to be wheelchair accessible such as being at least 56 inches deep or 59 inches deep if you have floor-mounted toilets. For more information on this part, you can find that here.


Summary – Is Your Restaurant ADA Compliant?

There you have it! From ADA table compliance to everything else in-between, this breakdown overview should get you on the right track to achieve full restaurant accessibility. All in all, ADA laws and regulations are enforced for a reason, and obliging them is much easier than it might look at a surface level. You can even use handy checklists to make sure you are compliant down to the last eighth of an inch. Keep in mind that there is a whole other sector of ADA for employees with disabilities as well, but we can get into that another day.

All in all, following the ADA restaurant requirements is fundamental to keep your business thriving and in good federal standing. But above all else, you are proactively supporting the effort for unification, equality, and acceptance – all valuable notions that the ADA was built on in the first place.

Requirements may vary depending on your State and City, this is not legal advice and we recommend you contact your local ordinance office and verify your area requirements.

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