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Hooters Emerges as the Latest Restaurant Franchise Facing a Lawsuit Around Consumer Accessibility

The brand joins other in the restaurant industry that have faced litigation around ADA compliance. For franchisors, the implications could be big.

Restaurant franchisors should take note that a significant trend picking up in 2019 appears to be significant litigation around restaurant brands’ noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA. One such example recently in the news is Hooters, which according to TMZ is being sued by Marcos Calcano on behalf of himself and others who are visually impaired due to the brand’s lack of braille gift cards.

Braille on gift card is not Calcano’s first foray into ADA-related litigation. Previously, he also brought a lawsuit against Domino’s for what he argued was an inaccessible ADA-noncompliant website and mobile app. The court found in his favor. Since then, the Supreme Court recently appeal from the well-known pizza brand to overturn the prior ruling.

Accessibility is not only a hot-button issue in the larger restaurant space; associated litigation and the impacts of the potential rulings and legislation could have far-reaching impacts for the industry at large. 

Chris Ake, founder of mobile app development company, Grand Apps, told Fox Business in a recent article: “I think restaurants need to be on high alert. There have been significantly increasing ADA compliant lawsuits for websites and mobile apps since 2017. Remember when people needed a mobile-first strategy? Well, they should focus on an ADA-compliant strategy and put that into their budgets because as we have seen with Domino's, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor they were not compliant which sets the precedent. So, if restaurants are not compliant, they're at a great risk.”

Restaurant franchises: be aware. 

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