Low lighting, a loud dining room, no parking lot, tiny menu font; these things can wreck an evening for some seniors attempting to go out for a nice dinner. Which is why a local company created reviewsforseniors.com, a Yelp-style restaurant review site for senior citizens.
“It’s the only site out there like this,” says spokesman Joe Marine. “There’s a lot of review sites out there, especially for restaurants, but nothing specifically for seniors. Over 60 percent of people who frequent restaurants are seniors. And they look for something different than you and I might look for in a restaurant. For example, lighting would be important, the size of the font on the menus and how they can read those. Whether or not there’s handicapped parking close. Is it accessible? Are the bathrooms accessible and easy to find? Are there a lot of young kids running around?”
Edmonds resident Sheila Countryman-Bean has reviewed a couple places.
“I take my mother, who’s elderly, out to restaurants and it is important. You don’t think about those things. But when she has trouble reading a menu she’s digging out her magnifying glass. I never thought about it before either, until I started having to take my mom places. How easy is parking to get her there so I can get her wheelchair or get her walker out? That all makes a big difference. It’s nice to see a site where I can go on and look and I can review restaurants to give other seniors or caregivers. You don’t have to be a senior to use the site.”
The website is about a month old, so it’s still building up reviews. They’re asking seniors and their dining companions or caretakers to start rating restaurants they visit so the site can become more robust and useful.
The hope is that restaurants might take note and cater a bit more toward the older crowd. for example, maybe adding a senior menu.
“Just like Yelp, as it gains recognition out there the restaurants want to get good reviews, obviously. So now maybe they’ll be looking at some of that criteria that they haven’t thought about and how that plays to their senior market. The largest growing segment of our population is seniors.”
Of course, there are always going to be loud, dark restaurants, or cafes with kids running around. Not all restaurants are expected to cater to every population.
“Obviously there’s Chuck E. Cheese, right?” Marine says. “It’s not going to be for the senior market. But I think it’s a matter of restaurants if they want to take a larger hold of that segment of the market, it gives them an opportunity to do that. But more importantly, it gives seniors a way to find those restaurants that do meet their needs. That’s really what it’s all about.