Clearing Our Path

Creating accessible environments ­for people with vision loss

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Design Needs

Design Basics

Exteriors and Interiors

Exterior Design Elements

Interior Design Elements

Cafeterias and Dining Rooms

In an eating area, it’s important to take into account the provision of safe access to food items, especially hot foods, and predictably located furniture and facilities.

Tables and chairs should be colour contrasted to their surroundings and arranged in a regular, logical pattern that visitors can learn easily. The layout should provide a clear path of travel that is at least 1,200 mm wide. A change in flooring texture and colour/brightness contrast should be used to differentiate the seating area from the main path of travel.

Lighting should be even throughout a cafeteria or dining room. Avoid pools of light or shadow.

In cafeterias, dishes and cutlery should be set out in a logical way. When food is behind a self-serve enclosure, the name of the item should be put on the door to the area in braille and in print signage of at least 18-point type.

A continuous tray path is easier to use than separate food service stations. Place physical colour-contrasted stops at the end of the tray counter so that trays cannot be accidentally pushed off.

Hot food serving areas should be designed to minimize the possibility of burns from spills or incidental contact with hot foods or appliances.

Place waste containers and tray return receptacles outside the path of travel. They should be clearly marked and colour contrasted to their surroundings.

Menus and price lists in restaurants and cafeterias should be posted on a wall near the entrance at a height between 1,350 and 1,550 mm from the finished floor. Menus that are hand-held should be available in at least 14-point type and in braille. They could also be made available on a portable audio device such as an MP3 player. Update all menus at the same time so that prices and contents of print and braille menus are consistent. Menus should also be provided in an accessible format on the restaurant’s website. For more information, refer to CNIB’s Clear Print guidelines.

Vending machines should provide information about the food items available and the price of each item, as well as instructions on how to use the machine. These labels should be provided in a minimum of 14-point type and braille. Vending machines should be designed in compliance with the Canadian Standards Association’s “Accessible design for self-service interactive devices” document, CAN/CSA-B651.2-07. It’s available through the ShopCSA website.

When vending machines provide a telephone number for service, it should also be available in braille or large-print, located as close as possible to coin slots.