Dining out can be a challenge for those with Alzheimer’s, Autism, PTSD, and other physical or cognitive conditions. The noise, crowds, and long waits for food can be extremely overwhelming, and the discomfort can be multiplied by having a server who is unsympathetic – or even one who is well-meaning yet unfamiliar with these challenges.
Jen Apazidis, who is a co-owner of Red Raven gastropub in Acton, Massachusetts, came up with a solution. She began training staff in how to compassionately meet the needs of customers with special requirements. She set aside a large table in a quiet section of the restaurant which those with different needs can reserve, knowing that the server will understand and anticipate any issues that may arise.
Along with implementing changes at her own restaurant, Apazidis launched Purple Table, a reservation service that allows patrons to search for other restaurants that have specially-trained staff to accommodate those with special dining needs. So far, there are participating restaurants in seven cities across the United States, and more are expected to join in the coming months.
Apazidis was inspired to offer these services because her own mother died of early-onset Alzheimer’s. She remembers what it was like to dine out with her mom, who loved going to restaurants but had difficulties, and wants to make the experience easier for those who are now facing this issue. She holds monthly lunches at her restaurant for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, to give them a place to dine without worry, waited on by those who understand.
See the video below for more information on Purple Table!
TC currently lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest, bellied up to a sun lamp. In addition to writing, she enjoys photography and estate sales, and is the proud mother to an ever-growing collection of cacti.