Back to all

Autism Awareness in the Restaurant Industry

The world is a very different place when you have autism. The simple pleasure of dining out in a nice restaurant can become fraught with stress and anxiety, and this is particularly true for children with autism who find any changes to their routine unnerving. To them, a restaurant poses an unfamiliar setting, bustling with strangers.

 

What is the leisure and hospitality industry doing to help make restaurants a more welcoming space for those with autism and their families? The Gate in Islington became the first restaurant in the UK to receive the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) Autism Friendly Award. But what does that entail? And how can you make sure your restaurant is properly catering for your autistic customers? Here are some key pointers to bear in mind:

The Gate in Islington was the first UK restaurant to receive the National Autistic Society’s (NAS) Autism Friendly Award. 

1. Play calm music

If you’ve ever struggled to have a conversation over booming speakers in a restaurant, you’ll know how annoying excessively loud music can be. But for autism sufferers, loud music is unbearable. Keep this in mind when selecting your dining soundtrack. Opt for easy-listening, ambient tunes at a background volume.

2. Keep things separate

Many children with autism tend to get upset if different foods on their plate are touching. Ensure that potatoes are kept at a comfortable distance from meat and that vegetables are given their own space, too. If the meal comes with a sauce or gravy, serve this in a little bowl on the side.

 

3. Be flexible

A child may want the salad, but with no tomatoes. The burger, but without the bun. The fish, without the broccoli. Try to be as flexible as you can with your menu. Allow them to mix and match until they find something they really like.

4. Be efficient

Autistic children may have difficulty waiting for long periods of time and may get particularly impatient when waiting for food. Keep this in mind and try to ensure that the time between food ordering and arrival is as short as possible.

 

If you’d like to explore opening your own autism-friendly restaurant, get in touch with a team member at Restaurant Property for a chat.

Guide banner image

Area guide:
Shoreditch

Shoreditch is now one of the trendiest areas of London. A far cry from its Victorian slums’ heritage, Shoreditch is now home to a wealth of cool bars and hip restaurants jotted up and down its maze of small streets and main roads.

Read the guide

Related articles

Blog image
Posted 17/10/18

New Opening: Onima in Mayfair

On Monday 22nd October, Mayfair-based and Mykonos-inspired bar, restaurant and private members club Onima will open its doors for lunch and dinner, with the official launch party taking place on Thursday 1st November.

Read more
Blog image
Posted 02/10/18

Chefs To Watch

Our experts have compiled a list of some of the most exciting names to look out for this year.

Read more
Blog image
Posted 18/09/18

Din Tai Fung, 5-6 Henrietta Street, WC2E

Din Tai Fung is a world-renowned Taiwanese restaurant with 140 branches in 14 territories. It was originally slated to open in London last September, was delayed until this summer and is now due to open in November.

Read more