Last Call: Apps exist to help larger people navigate seating in restaurants

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Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

Fortunately we live in an age when body positivity seems to be on the rise. But we still have a way to go. Think about larger people on airplanes, for example, or the fact that Aidy Bryant’s starring role in the upcoming Hulu series Shrill, written by Lindy West, is still seen as groundbreaking.

The New York Times has a story today titled, “For Larger Customers, Eating Out Is Still a Daunting Experience.” It features stories from larger people who live in fear of restaurant booths they won’t be able to fit into, describing scenarios including “Chairs with arms or impossibly small seats leave marks and bruises. Meals are spent in pain, or filled with worry that a flimsy chair might collapse.” One of those people, Rebecca Alexander, was so humiliated after a business meeting where her whole party had to wait for a table that would fit her, that she created a “crowdsourced mobile app last year called AllGo, which is a bit like Yelp for plus-size people.” Right now it’s being tested in Portland. The app enables users to review places like restaurants or theaters based on how well they accommodate larger-sized people. One of the supporters of the app, writer Roxanne Gay, enthuses, “It opens the world up to have an app that will tell fat people how accommodating or not various spaces are… I don’t think that restaurateurs even know this is something they need to think about.”


Some chains have adopted more movable furniture to replace booths, for example. Taco Bell has stopped bolting tables to the ground, and Waffle House offers more free-standing options. There’s also a website called Ample that also helps plus-size, trans, disabled people and/or people of color “review a doctor, business, or service from an intersectional perspective.” It’s all a hopeful, helpful look at several steps toward making the world more inclusive, and makes for a very interesting read over at The New York Times today.

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About the author

Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.