Welcome

...to the website of the James McGregor Stewart Society. We want to change the outlook for people with disabilities. Please share this site with friends. Your contributions, comments and criticisms will add enthusiasm and vitality. Please participate by subscribing!

Enter your email address:

Statement of Purpose......... Take Action!......... Become a Member......... Contact

February 3, 2015

Food Math


My friend Contrarian challenged me to get serious about the economics of accessibility.

I'm just a wheelchair user, so I tend to think about accessibility in terms of ramps and washrooms. Let's make some informed estimates.

I like restaurants, but many are in inaccessible buildings.  They've been restaurants for a long time, so under the provincial building code, they're grandfathered as to inaccessibility.  What would it cost to make them accessible, would there be any benefits and what would be a good way to make it happen?  Here are some numbers:

According to Restaurants Canada, 60.6% of Canadians eat at a restaurant once a week or more.

The population of Nova Scotia is 940,592

The Disabled Persons Commission says 16% of Nova Scotians have a mobility disability (2006 data)
and 26.9% of disabilities are moderate.

Nova Scotians940,592
16% Mobility disability150,495
26.9% moderate40,483
60.6% dine out at least once a week 24,533
Annual restaurant visits1,275,703

The subjective variable here is severity of disability.  I can't find a good description, but here's my interpretation of the StatsCan categories:

Severity of disabilityLikelihood of dining out
mildProbably could go to any restaurant, though it might be a nuisance
moderateProbably can't do steps and needs some washroom amenities, but would love to dine out
severeMight go to a restaurant, but probably would rather not
very severeWouldn't go

This  is indisputably correct:  According to Statistics Canada and Restaurants Canada the potential for dining out among those with moderate mobility disabilities is 1,275,703 meals per year.  I can personally testify that some of that demand is already being met, though none of it at inaccessible restaurants.  Let's say half of those meals don't happen presently, leaving a new business potential of 637,851 meals.

Hold that thought.  Now let's turn our attention to restaurants.

According to Statistics Canada there are 1540 full-service restaurants and limited-service eating places in Nova Scotia as of January 2015.

Some of them will need extensive renovations to become accessible.  Some already are accessible. Others, like Hali-Deli just got a free portable ramp.  Some have a useful washroom, some have no washroom at all.  Here's a table to help think about it:

Cost to make accessible
Proportion of restaurants# of restaurants$500$2,500$5,000$7,500$10,000$15,000
25%385$192,500$962,500$1,925,000$2,887,500$3,850,000$5,775,000
50%770$385,000$1,925,000$3,850,000$5,775,000$7,700,000$11,550,000
75%1155$577,500$2,887,500$5,775,000$8,662,500$11,550,000$17,325,000
100%1540$770,000$3,850,000$7,700,000$11,550,000$15,400,000$23,100,000

If all 1540 restaurants had to spend $15,000 to become accessible, it would cost $23,100,000.  My estimate is that about half of restaurants are inaccessible, and that $7500 would go a long way towards fixing the problem.  Here are my figures:

16 foot aluminum ramp$2,687
32" prehung door$189
Raised Toilet$168
Pedestal sink$151
Labour$1,000
Plumber$1,000
Carpenter$1,000
TOTAL$6,196

The ramp is very nice and comes ready-to-assemble - meets code.  Covers 2 steps.  Fixtures are Home Depot prices.  Labour is extremely generous, probably way too much.  This assumes the restaurant already has a  bathroom, at least 2X2 meters, that needs renovating.

So a $7,500 upgrade of 770 restaurants would cost $5,775,000.

Suppose the Province made a grant for the renovation.  What's the payback?  Well, It depends on the price of a meal:

Cost of a mealAnnual Business IncreasePer RestaurantProvincial HST portionYears to recoup $7500 grant to 50% of restaurants
$10$6,378,514$4,142$637,8519.1
$25$15,946,285$10,355$1,594,6293.6
$50$31,892,570$20,709$3,189,2571.8
$75$47,838,855$31,064$4,783,8861.2
$100$63,785,140$41,419$6,378,5140.9
My favorite meal on the planet is clams & chips and a chocolate shake at John's Lunch in Dartmouth, which runs $23.23 tax included.  Let's take $25 for an average price - I think $30 is more realistic but $25 will do.

So here's the bottom line:

24,533 Nova Scotians with moderate mobility disabilities might represent a new customer base of 637,851 meals at the province's restaurants.  If the Province gave $7500 grants to 770 restaurants to make them accessible, it would recoup the investment through HST in 3.6 years at an average meal cost of $25.


The 770 restaurants each increase business $10,355.

Gus Reed






3 comments:

Helen McFadyen said...

Suggest throwing in a few more grand for alternate format menus so the 12% who can't read regular print can order a meal independantly

anne sinclair said...

This is great. Seeing numbers really helps.
I'd like to suggest taking it a 'step' further so even more people can go and code minimums are met:
-a 34 or 36" door would be good - to meet code too (32" clear)- when it's open the depth of the door itself lessens the clear opening by 1 3/4"
-add lever hardware for that door
-add some drywall to move a wall to create room for turning space, and electrical for occupant sensor light
-and grab bars + blocking
-sounds self-serving, but a few hours of an experienced designer's time can solve a lot and save $'s.

I realize this may put the costs too high and deter some - but I don't think anyone should be compromised.

How about interest-free loans from province?

I'm curious about the MLA office renos as the work is similar - has anyone tallied the average costs?

Gus Reed said...

Actually, a 36" door is cheaper - $107.10. I thin the miscellaneous pieces are well covered in the total, but maybe saying labour and plumber are $750 each and hardware is $500 is clearer. It would be great to have 3 budgets:
Low - Press Gang
Medium - Wooden Monkey
High - Epicurious Morsels (including a washroom)
Can I interest you in doing that or something similar?
Gus