Chipotle to ADA: Happy Freaking Birthday!


Monday was the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Monday was also a huge bummer for the Chipotle burrito chain:

The 45-inch-high wall between the customer line and the food preparation counter at two Chipotle restaurants in San Diego County, which blocked the view of patrons in wheelchairs, violated the 1990 federal law that requires equal treatment of the disabled, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Monday.

The court said the accommodation the company offered—bringing spoonfuls of each dish to wheelchair users for inspection before ordering—didn't measure up.

That would provide only "a substitute experience that lacks the customer's personal participation in the selection and preparation of the food," the court said in a 3-0 ruling.

Reason already celebrated the anniversary with Contributing Editor Walter Olson earlier this week (where I see several commenters noted the Chipotle decision), and the analysed the law in its early days with a cover story by Brian Doherty in 1995.