TGI Fridays, Hagley RD isn’t far for me to walk, so I went there on foot. I walked there with my god-sister and I was delighted with her company. It didn’t take us long to walk around to the restaurant and we navigated our way through parked cars and used the flat access to get to the first set of the main doors. As we faced the first set double doors, I saw that they were not open. This set of doors needed to be pulled open. I would not manage this independently and I would either sit in the cold until someone saw me and offered to help me or I would have to leave. This could be rectified by someone being there to keep an eye out.
Once we got in, we found there was an open house desk. No one was manning it at the time we walked in but they soon came through another set of double doors behind the welcome desk. We were warmly greeting. We were the first customers of their day as at the time we went, they were just opening up for the day. The man was there and kindly opened this set of double doors for us to allow us to get into the restaurant. However, I have arrived when no one has been standing at the welcome desk and have had to rely on the person I am with to open these so I am able to get into the restaurant.
Once inside the restaurant it is completely flat access that I could see to every part of the restaurant. To get to the majority of the seating areas, there were ramps in which you could go down. This was great and it showed the disability awareness at this particular TGI Fridays was there, even it wasn’t applied in all areas of the restaurant.
As we walked through the restaurant, I saw a sign clearly marked ‘toilets.’ Going to inspect them, I saw what looked a standard sized toilet. Not very good disability awareness there.
The bar in the restaurant was no more than I expected. It was the same size as ones I’ve seen at other restaurants and pubs I have been too. It was very high and I would need to request assistance in ordering from the bar for food or for a drink.
Choosing and getting to a table was challenging. Though there weren’t many people in the restaurant, the tables and the layout of them restricted the space and it was very tight to manoeuvre in to be able to get to the table where we wanted to sit and eat. After moving a number of chairs and trying to change the angle of my wheelchair so I was able to get to one, I finally managed it.
When I was finally able to come head onto our chosen table, we had to move chairs aside so I could get close enough to the table. I had further difficulties while trying to do so, I could not tilt my wheelchair down far enough to be able to get underneath. The most I could do was get close enough and manage to bang my knees on the underside of it. That was not good. I had very sore knees and because I had to arch towards the table to be able to eat and drink sufficiently, I also had a very sore back by the end of our visit.
The two of us sat at our table, with two menus and we started to chat, but we had only been sitting there for two minutes when the waitress was already back, wanting to take our order. Having only just sat down, we asked her to give us more time to decide. The problem with TGI Fridays. They are a bit overly prompt with their service. The waiters or witnesses don’t give you much time to make your decisions, but I as I guess everyone else has come out to enjoy themselves and enjoy themselves without the feeling of being rushed.
After taking our time looking at the menus, I saw that there were a variety of food and drink options to choose from. Both for me and my mom’s goddaughter who is gluten-free. I always worry about going to a restaurant with someone who cannot choose from the regular menus, I worry that they don’t have much to choose from as there is a limited selection. But according to my mom’s goddaughter, there were a variety of food and drinks to choose from.
The waitress came over for what I think was the third time and asked what we would like to order. My attention was caught and I saw she was directing all questions, including the questions regarding my order to my mom’s goddaughter. I could understand to some degree why she was doing this. She didn’t want to hurt my feelings if I couldn’t communicate or something of that nature. It really does show a lack of awareness and pure ignorance on their part.
But it’s like I say, always direct the questions to everyone, despite what you think and then have patience and if you see they can’t give you an answer, then and only then deliver the question to who they are with. Its common sense and basic manners. Otherwise, it’s just plain rudeness and disrespect.
My family and friends and I have come up with a tactic when are faced with this. The person or people who I am with at the time don’t answer the waiter or waitress. Instead, they immediately look at me, which forces the waiter or waitress to look at me as well. It gets them to think, ‘Oh. Hold on. If she/he is looking is looking at the disabled person, I have just ignored. Maybe they can answer for themselves.’ It also doesn’t prove the waiter or waitress right and confirm their conclusion.
Anyway, on request, I ordered a large pint of coke and a starter of mozzarella dippers, while my mom’s goddaughter ordered a large pint of coke and a gluten free cheeseburger and fries. After the waitress left, we were able to relax and chat again, while enjoying the atmosphere.
As it was lunchtime and the restaurant had only just opened, it wasn’t too busy at the time we went, the atmosphere was peaceful with a light buzz of conversations. There was also music playing over the speakers. The music consisted of some of my favourite tracks, so I really enjoyed listening to these, while chatting and eating and drinking.
When the food came, both meals were hot and fresh which showed that they had just been cooked. This was great, there is nothing worse than lukewarm or cold food. The drinks of coke that we had were very large and refreshing, particularly mine as I had mine without ice, so it wasn’t watery like it would be if I had ice in my drink. The waitress and waiters were attentive and kept asking us whether we needed anything else, which I felt was positive.
I would say the better food at TGI Fridays is the desserts. There are lots of choices and on this particular visit, I had a rich chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream with extra chocolate sauce. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy my main meal. I was disappointed, but I did enjoy my dessert. The chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream was very filling but wasn’t too sickly compared to others I’ve had. The vanilla ice cream was tasty and both complimented each other well.