National Updates

National Updates

Menu Labeling and ADA Bar Countertops Requirements


Awaiting Menu Labeling Rules
If you are part of a restaurant chain with 20 or more locations, one of the questions on your mind is “When will the final regulations to implement the federal menu labeling law be released?” With the election now behind us, we expected the logjam of regulations to start to abate. While this has generally been the case, discussions surrounding the “fiscal cliff” have also slowed things down, and thus there is a good chance that the final regulations may not be released until sometime in 2013.

The National Restaurant Association continues to closely follow this situation. For more information, contact Dan Roehl at 202.331.5928.

ADA Bar Countertops Requirement in Effect as of March 15, 2012
The new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules require bar countertops to have an accessible section available to disabled patrons. However, restaurants are now able to substitute accessible tables instead of lowering a section of the bar. Physically lowering a bar can be avoided if a table or tables meeting specific criteria are provided in the same area as the bar. The tables must have a top height of 28 inches to 34 inches and knee space 27 inches high by 30 inches wide and 19 inches deep. A 36-inch diameter square table with a pedestal will not meet these requirements.

The ADA is essentially restating the standards that have been in place since 1991. If bars have the required tables, they need not do more until they remodel and make changes to tables and bar tops that meet the 1991 standards.

If a bar does not have an ADA-compliant lowered section, and does not have accessible tables within the same area by March 15, the exception is no longer available. After March 15, a section of the bar must be lowered to comply with the ADA.

The requirements for foodservice counters and bars are: where food or drink is served at counters exceeding 34 inches (865mm) in height for consumption by customers seated on stools or standing at the counter, a portion of the main counter, which is 60 inches (1525 mm) in length minimum, shall be provided in compliance with 34 inches maximum counter height and 19 inches clear depth, or service shall be available at accessible tables within the same area. | NELLIE deVRIES