There's a new business in town that's caught our eye, cue Purple Table Reservations. We connected with founder Jenifer Apazidis to learn more about the business that is working to improve in-restaurant dining experiences for those affected by Alzheimers, dementia, PTSD, autism, hearing or visional impairments, or physical or cognitive conditions. The program went live in September of 2017 and now has nine restaurants in four states.
Zieley: What inspired you to start Purple Table Reservations?
Jenifer Apazidis (JA): Since 2014 our restaurant has been offering a monthly luncheon “Lovely Linda’s Lunches” for caregivers and their loved ones living with Dementia (Alzheimer's Disease). I realized that knowledge is power. Seeing the staff interact with guests at those luncheons as well as our restaurant guests that informed us that someone in their party had a cognitive or physical condition like Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Hearing Loss, etc. I witnessed a change in the way the staff serviced those guests. They were more patient, aware and empathetic. Seeing this change, I knew if we educated and trained our staff (giving them the tools and knowledge to succeed) and also created a discreet reservation flag, we would be able to offer a new level of service.
Z: What does this project mean to you personally?
JA: I helped care for my Mother when she was living with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. She loved going out to eat, shopping, etc. Going out with someone who has limited speech capability was very difficult, especially when they know what they want to communicate and cannot and often pride gets in the way. I think we have found a way, albeit a simple concept, to make dining out enjoyable for all.
Z: How would somebody go about making a Purple Table Reservation?
JA: Customers will be able to search geographically for restaurants in their area, by zip code, and by restaurant amenities/cuisine via the website or App. If customers choose to register on the Purple Table website they will be able to save their favorite locations, submit reviews of their experiences at a location and have access to Purple Table events and promotions. Each review submitted will first come to the Purple Tables team, we will review and then publish to the restaurants listing site. This is designed so that we can monitor the restaurants handling of each and every Purple Table reservation. We want to make sure everyone is executing the Purple Table reservations to the best of their ability and help them correct any issues that may arise! Currently the apps are available for download for iOS and Android platforms.
Z: What are the benefits of a Purple Table Reservation in comparison to a regular restaurant reservation?
JA: It is difficult and people are not always willing to ask for special accommodations, so they do not bother going out to eat. Purple Table Reservations are a way for people to let the restaurant know someone in their party may benefit from additional accommodations and a more predictable environment when dining at their favorite restaurant.
Purple Table reservations are designed for those who are living with Dementia (Alzheimer's Disease), Autism, PTSD, a hearing or vision impairment, or other physical or cognitive condition that may benefit from additional accommodations when dining out. When making a Purple Table reservation, you can provide the restaurant with further details. However no further detail is necessary, a Purple Table reservation is all that is needed. The staff at the restaurant will have all gone through training and will understand how to best accommodate the reservation. The mantra of all staff is patience, understanding, accommodation.
Z: How do businesses start offering Purple Table Reservations?
JA: Restaurants register to accept Purple Table reservations. Locations will be reviewed prior to acceptance of registration. Once registered, the restaurants will receive access to an online training tool kit, a complete listing page on the Purple Table website, informative marketing materials and decals for each location and inclusion in all Purple Table initiatives. Restaurants will be able to outline the days/times that they can best accommodate Purple Table reservations successfully! Restaurants can sign up for the Purple Table Reservations directory https://purpletables.us/add-listing and start accepting Purple Table reservations once approved! The Purple Table Reservation flag can be easily integrated with most reservations as an amenity flag.
Z: What is the best way for people who want to learn more to reach out?
Interested in learning more? Visit www. PurpleTables.com or contact Purple Table founder Jenifer at firstname.lastname@example.org.