Mystery Shopping Research Found that Most Chain Restaurants Failed to Meet Accessibility Requirements 75% Physically Disabled Have Discrimination Experience When Dining Out
[Press Release February 6, 2014] The HK Red Cross John F. Kennedy Centre Alumni Association announced the "Hong Kong Restaurant Mystery Shopping Accessibility Research" results today. Results showed that 87% of chain restaurants in the research sample failed to meet accessibility requirements*. Cantonese cafes scored lowest in terms of accessibility and indiscriminate service to the disabled. The key problems were the entrance threshold without ramp, lack of disabled toilets and unwelcoming staff. Fast food chains often have fixed seats unfriendly to wheelchair diners. Toilet doors of fast food restaurants were often difficult to open and self-serve process often caused difficulties for the disabled. Most Cantonese restaurants visited by mystery shoppers can meet basic accessibility requirements. However, staff attitude towards disabled customers seemed to be worse than those to non-disabled customers. Coffee shops have the best overall accessibility score. Yet, there was still room for coffee shops to improve in terms of their high-counter design and dark lighting. The research also found that 75% of physically disabled and 50% of visually impaired have experienced discrimination when they dine out.
Research agency Mansfield Consulting Limited has conducted the mystery shopping research in the fourth quarter of 2013. Wheelchair users, visually impaired, hearing impaired, elderly and able-bodied persons were invited to become mystery customers. 60 restaurants in random locations were selected from 17 well-known chain restaurants brands, including Cantonese restaurants, Cantonese cafes, fast food restaurants and coffee shops. Mystery Shoppers will disguise as normal customers and observe staff attitude and access facilities. A true barrier-free restaurant should allow people with disabilities to dine without the help of others.
HK Red Cross JFKCAA Chairman Dicky Tam said, "Even large chain restaurants are unable to address the needs of the disabled. You can imagine that small local restaurants should have even more barriers. Hong Kong is known as a ‘Gourmet Paradise’. However, for the disabled, the entrance gate to the ‘Paradise’ is closed."
Current Legislative Council Member Fernando Cheung remarked, “In 2041, one in every three people will be aged 65 or above; while about 80% of elderly will have disabilities of various degree. Businesses in many advanced countries already realized the opportunities of the elderly segment and offered barrier-free shopping experience to customers.” Cheung urged decision makers of Hong Kong restaurants to improve their barrier-free facilities and strengthen staff training on skills for serving the disabled. Also, the Hong Kong Government should also assist small local restaurants to improve their barrier-free facilities so that the disabled can dine out freely.
Management consultant Billy Man said, "Some restaurant owners believed that large investments are required to provide barrier-free facilities. However, some facilitiessuch as a mobile ramp only cost a few thousand dollars. Installation of service bells and signage cost only very little. The most important thing is for restaurant managers and staff to have empathy towards people with disabilities. If service staffs are unsure what customers need, they can always ask their guests directly. Customers would feel respected, avoid misunderstandings and turn them into loyal customers."
神秘顧客調查發現 大部份連鎖食肆不符合無障礙要求 75%肢體殘障人士出外用膳時曾經遇過歧視情況