Ask an Expert – December 2020 – Making Your Dinner Table More Accessible

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

Hello everyone!

Each month I will be responding to a question chosen from a pool of some of the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and continue to be asked.

This month, I’d like to answer the following question:

Making Your Dinner Table More Accessible

Before you say no or turn thumbs down on these suggestions; consider these thoughts.

You can definitely increase your revenue and reduce both your internal and external costs and here’s how.

Take it from me! I have been an accessibility awareness consultant and advisor since 1998 and I continue to help companies to increase their revenues, reduce their costs, and reach hidden consumer markets!

At this time of the year, we need to ensure that everyone is kept happy at the dinner table so that they can enjoy dining together.

The thing to keep in mind when making your dinner table more accessible is this! A dinner table can refer to instances such as dinner tables in the home, dinner tables at a restaurant, and dinner tables wherever meals are shared by families and friends.

So here are some tips to make your dinner tables more accessible to everyone.

  • You need to ensure that most dishes on your dinner table can be easily reached by all diners. This could be accomplished by avoiding clutter or by only having the minimal number of dishes at each stage of the meal. A suggestion would be to have your dishes split into stages as follows: Group dishes by category such as appetizers, entrés, and desserts.
  • Serve soups and salads in bowls and/or dishes that are easy to handle and those that help to avoid spills. Do the same for dessert.
  • For entrées, avoid serving meals in plates or bowls that are too large. Do the same for desserts.
  • Ensure that there is enough space on your dinner table to accommodate each guest. That is, that each person has enough elbow room to sit comfortably and to maneuver their dishes.
  • Ensure that cutlery is placed so that your guests can easily find them without too much difficulty. That is, that you don’t have too many cutlery pieces on your table at any given time. A good suggestion would be to only have cutlery pieces for each stage as dinner progresses.
  • Remember now; access to your dinner table applies when your guests are being served as well as when they are serving themselves at the table.
  • Finally, be sure to have enough room for all guests. Chairs should not be crammed around your dinner table. This is especially so for those who are in wheelchairs, those with walkers, and those who are vision impaired.

This should be a good start.

To contact me please send an email to!
I’m Donna J. Jodhan (sight loss coach and accessibility advisor)

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