New inclusive restaurant in New York, Contento
After a difficult year for the hospitality industry, a new New York restaurant, Contento, has raised the bar, by making it accessible to those with disabilities.
Contento beverage director, Yannick Benjamin, who uses a wheelchair, was tired of straining his neck each time he looked up at a customer. He and business partner George Gallego, who also uses a wheelchair, have designed a restaurant for people with disabilities to enjoy for a glass of wine or a night out, as the world gets back to normal.
Contento is a barrier free restaurant, inclusive of those with disabilities
Over the pandemic period, working from home has led to the evolution of hybrid working, an option which gives equal access to those with a disability.
Now as life gets back to normal, some hospitality businesses are adapting to make sure their buildings are inclusive.
Contento is a ‘barrier free restaurant’ where all customers are welcomed and catered for.
At Contento, half of the bar is low enough for people in wheelchairs to come up and order a drink, without the bartender looking down at them.
"There's a power dynamic that's quite annoying," said Benjamin. "I'm looking at [customers] and I've got to strain my neck."
But at Contento, customers who use a wheelchair can be eye-to-eye with Benjamin when they order. In addition:
- The space between tables is wide enough for wheelchairs to pass in between (which will also be useful for social distancing).
- Customers with visual impairments can scan a QR code on the menu, to have the menu read out loud to them.
The new normal is inclusive
15% of the world’s population lives with a disability. Each of these people deserve a seat at the table in their local bar.
"The key is that anyone who has a disability would be able to walk in here freely and comfortably," said Benjamin.
The world may be slowly getting back to normal, but for some, it will be even better.
Deliveroo boss, Will Shu, goes undercover as food courier
The co-founder of Deliveroo, Will Shu, has taken a humble approach to leading the company, by delivering food to customers himself to find out what his employees deal with. On one recent trip, he noted how restaurant staff were ‘rude’ to him when he pointed out that the food he was due to deliver was cold.
Co-founder Will Shu is based in London. The University of Pennsylvania graduate hatched Deliveroo in 2012, with the target of getting local restaurant meals to hungry people quickly. The company has a revenue of £476m.
Please tell your staff to smile, says Deliveroo boss
The Deliveroo app allows users to order takeaway food, which is then delivered by independent food couriers, often cyclists in weather-proof backpackers, to a house, place of work or even a public location. The company is now active in 12 countries and has helped many through the stress of the pandemic by delivering delicious meals to the doorstep.
Shu has chosen to do several undercover rounds and he told The Diary of a CEO podcast that on one delivery in Notting Hill, he was rudley disregarded by the staff of an eatery where he collected the food.
“I did five deliveries last night in Notting Hill. I’m not like a celebrity so no one recognises me. Then I got the food and it was kind of cold, and I’m like ‘hey, you know this food’s kind of cold’ and they were like ‘just deliver it buddy.”
Shu refused to name the location but said he would tell their bosses about the incident.
“We need to figure out a way to get this to work. Please tell your staff just smile, say ‘hey, how are you doing’. It makes a big difference in people’s days.”
Deliveroo set to expand its business with new tech roles
Deliveroo has recently announced that it will create 400 high-skilled tech jobs, to support its rapid growth and to help restaurants improve efficiency.
The company is seeking to hire across a range of skill sets including software engineers, product managers, user researchers, designers, and even data scientists.