Restaurant Tables

Restaurants and dining areas need to have at least 1 wheelchair accessible table for every 20 seats.  Typical “cafe” tables are not accessible, because the center support column doesn’t allow a wheelchair to roll under the table.  In order for a table to be accessible, it typically needs legs at the four corners with a clear area under the table that a wheelchair can roll into.  Table should also be no higher than 34″.

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About Dwight Ashdown

The website is authored by Ashdown Architecture, Inc., a California Architectural firm and Certified Access Specialist (CASp) #112 All content is copyrighted by Ashdown Architecture and may not be used without the written consent of Ashdown Architecture, Inc.
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26 Responses to Restaurant Tables

  1. manuel peralta (don pan international bakery, sawgrass) says:

    hello i would like to know the price of the handicapped cafe table above. we are looking to add one to our bakery.

  2. David Fields says:

    Does CA require accessible tables be marked? If so, what are the signage requirements?

    • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

      To my knowledge, there’s no specific requirement in either California or Federal law for accessible restaurant tables to be marked. There is a section of the CBC that says, that the ISA (International Symbol of Accessibility) shall be the standard used to identify facilities that are accessible to and usable by physically disabled persons… 1117B.5.8.1 – which could be interpreted as a requirement to provide an ISA on accessible restaurant tables. As an aside, typically Starbucks identifies their accessible tables with an ISA. As a further aside, there is no requirement for the size of an ISA.

  3. Is there really a set percentage of the total seating capacity that has to be accessible? The wording for ADA says that you need to provide 5% accessible spaces for the total number of FIXED seats in a restaurant. It doesn’t seem like you calculate the number of ADA seats required by taking the total seating count and using 5% of that number if you have a combination of fixed booths, fixed eating counters & (not fixed) table/chair combinations. The way I interpret is that there is no specific NUMBER of seats required. You just have to make sure that you are covering the 5% of your fixed amount of seats and also being sure that you have the “range of choices enjoyed by others” available as accessible spots (including all clearances and eating surface heights). I regularly achieve this by providing 22″ deep eating counters at 28-34″ height above floor and 27″ clear height underneath and the 30×42 clear space. I also use 2’x4′ tables with reversed “T” bases on each end which usually accommodates four chairs. When needed for ADA spots, the two chairs can be moved away and the wheelchair can move into place between the bases.

    Is there a set requirement for the amount of ADA spaces that derived from the entire seating occupancy (mixture of fixed & movable seating)?

  4. Amanda says:

    Does anyone know where an ADA accessible table like the one shown can be purchased? I see them a lot in restaurants, but can seem to locate a supplier online.

    Thanks – Amanda

  5. carlos says:

    If all your tables are fully accessible, then you do not need to ‘mark’ them. If only a couple of your table are accessible (i.e out of 20 tables only 3 are ADA) then you should follow the 11B-216.6 code to identify all accessible tables (usually the 5% that are required).

  6. Cassidy Jackson says:

    I am doing an engineering project and I had some questions. Has anyone ever complained that, while in a wheelchair, they aren’t tall enough to sit at a table? I am not asking about the height of the table compared to the wheelchair. I am asking about the height of the table compared to the person. I have noticed that my cousin has a hard time sitting at restaurant tables because she is a shorter girl, so her chin is barely taller than the table.

    • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

      The ADA stipulates that the minimum height for dining surfaces is 28″ and the maximum height is 34″. For children 5 years and younger, the tops of table should be 26″ min. & 30″ max. I hope that helps.

  7. Sherrie Lam says:

    Hello,
    If we are using a typical cafe style table with the base stem in the middle, what is the minimum depth requirement from the edge of the table to the stem we need to allow for so that the knee will not hit the stem of the table base?
    I’ve tried searching but only found 1 site that mentions it’s 19″. can any one else validate this?

    • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

      A cafe table with a center support isn’t accessible. In order for a table to be accessible, it needs to accommodate a 30″x48″ clear space for a wheelchair, that extends 19″ under the edge of the table. Really, the only way to provide this is with a table that has legs at the 4 corners, which allows a 30″ clear space to extend under the table.

      • Dwight, I disagree with your statement “Really, the only way to provide this is with a table that has legs at the 4 corners, which allows a 30″ clear space to extend under the table.” As Marcy mentioned awhile back on this thread, she uses “T-bases”, or what I know as “end bases” on either end of a 4 or 6 top table. The advantage to this is that these bases are often available to match other bases from the same manufacturer, keeping a consistent look. The drawback is that if you’re working with a 48″ top, the legs have to placed at the furthest edges of the table. I usually suggest a 6 top be used so that the bases be equitably spaced without looking as if it were an afterthought.

        • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

          There are many ways that an accessible restaurant table can be provided, as long as there is a 30″ wide clear space extending 19″ under the table. In our experience, the easiest way to provide that is with a table with legs at 4 corners.

  8. Holly says:

    Does anyone know if you need to provide ISA signage on the table top or table edge to indicate it is accessible?

    • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

      The easy way to look at it is – if all the tables are accessible, then there is no need to put an ISA on each table. If some of the tables are accessible and others are not, then there should be an ISA on the tables which are accessible. On several occasions at Starbucks, I’ve seen an ISA branded into the table top.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I keep seeing that the 2010 amendment changed it so there must be 5% of all seating options accessible–including high top tables. How is that even possible? If you lower the height so it’s accessible, doesn’t that just become a low top table? What am I missing here?

    • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

      I’m quite sure that the issue is – 5% of seating needs to be accessible – and each different seating area needs to provide accessible seating. Any raised or lowered areas, bar areas, patios or decks need to provide accessible seating.

  10. Ed Lee says:

    I really need your help about this ADA. Please help. I own the restaurant and got sued from ADA person 3 times in past 5 yeas. I did fix what ever they want but mostly about the grab bar in the restroom and the restaurant counter. My counter is higher than 48″ and it is very hard to fix. Is there a way to pass such as a sign ” Our server will provide you at your table”?
    Yes mostly about Grab Bar in the restroom and the counter.
    Do you have any idea?
    By the way, thank you for the Seating idea.

    • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

      I can’t believe that you’ve been sued over ADA issues 3 times in the last 5 years. What you need to do is hire a CASp person to do an inspection of your restaurant. A CASp inspection will proivide you with a list items that can be corrected. It will also give you a timeframe in which to correct those items, but most importantly, it will give you a certificate of inspection, which will help protect you against future lawsuits.

  11. Stan says:

    I am building out a tavern with 49 seat capacity. There may be a few extra chairs for spare. I have 8 seats at the bar with 2 Ada spots , 4-6 top tables, and some window seating with a drink rail. With 5% Ada seating that’s about 2.5. We planned to have all high top tables. Since we have 2 spots at the bar, can I just have a folding table stored in the back and pull out when needed? Or does it have to be a setup 4 legged table ready at all times? Thanks for your time

    • mm Dwight Ashdown says:

      You’ll want to have accessible seating – at each of your seating areas. From what you’ve said, it appears that you should provide accessible seating at each of your seating areas – the bar – the table area – and at the window. Essentially you don’t want to exclude a disabled individual from any of your seating areas.

  12. Jake says:

    If my restaurant has a community table which is at “bar” height, must it accommodate disabled people? In other words, if 6 seats at the community table are at bar height, must 1 or 2 be at ADA compliant height? We do provide ADA compliant seating over the 5% threshold. I guess the real question is does the ADA standard say that we must provide an opportunity for a disabled person to sit in every ‘area’ or ‘type’ of seating, so if we provide bar seating, a portion of the bar seating area needs to be accessible or lower in height?

  13. Chris says:

    Tonight My husband and I were invited to a birthday dinner party at an older restaurant near our home town. It is pretty well known place, recently the name changed and we looked forward to checking it out. This is the second time I had been there with him. He is a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair (since 1979) and in our 30 years of marriage…we have had multiple access issues over the years. We have never sued anyone, but have had some pretty serious issues. BUT, tonight, we missed another event, because no access for a wheelchair. This place has a large banquet room UPSTAIRS. Stairs only. About 18 years ago, we attended a wedding at this place. We had to find 2 big guys willing to risk back injury pulling him up some 15 or 20 wooden steps outside the building. We could have missed it but, Michael was the photography and uncle and we simply did not want to miss it. Same two guys helped Michael down those steps, no injuries or mishaps thank goodness. But, tonight as we are on our way, I had a brief thought….certainly they won’t be in that huge upstairs banquet room! But, they were. I asked if they had an elevator? No, they replied. I asked if they have ever had any requests by anyone in a wheelchair, to be able to go upstairs to the big ROOM or go to their highly acclaimed BAR, that’s supposed to be pretty amazing. BUT WE WILL NEVER KNOW. Are we wrong in assuming that all public places need to be accessible? We missed the party. The Birthday girl and her husband were so upset and demanded the manager, but Michael and I just left. I have never been comfortable making a scene, especially when it will not change anything at the moment we are there. It would be lots of yelling and tears, and bad feelings and we would still end up leaving, missing out. BUT, seriously what are our rights in this case? Can They have a room and Bar that not everyone can get to0? Curious and frustrated. It’s 2017, it shouldn’t be like this.

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