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Restaurant for sale – PRM access: what are the requirements for a restaurant?

Are you looking for the best way to sell your bar-café-restaurant business? Since 2019, all establishments open to the public (Etablissements Recevant du Public – ERP) must comply with accessibility standards for people with reduced mobility (Personnes à Mobilité Réduite – PMR), whatever their handicap. An establishment that complies with these standards will therefore sell better, since the potential buyer won’t have to carry out any work to bring the property up to standard. This article takes a first look at the various mandatory standards for PRM accessibility in bar-café-restaurant establishments.

Which establishments must comply with PRM accessibility standards?

Since the law of February 11, 2005, establishments open to the public (ERP) must enable disabled people (of all types) to benefit from the same services as non-disabled people who have access to them. In other words, every person must have access to a place, service or equipment without discrimination.

Since 2019, all public buildings must comply with accessibility standards.

ERP are classified into several categories, firstly according to their activity (bars, restaurants and cafés are type N ERP by nature), then according to their capacity.

Thus, 5th category restaurants are those that can accommodate:

  • fewer than 100 people in the basement
  • Less than 200 people on upper floors;
  • And fewer than 200 people in the entire establishment.

4th category restaurants, on the other hand, are those able to accommodate :

  • More than 100 people in the basement;
  • More than 200 people on the upper floor
  • or more than 200 people in the entire establishment.

There is one exception: restaurants located in a 1st category shopping mall will be classified in the same 1st category. In this case, operators will have to comply with type M rather than type N.

What are the PRM (People with Reduced Mobility) accessibility standards?

What accessibility standards apply to bars/restaurants/cafés?

There are several areas that restaurant owners must make accessible to disabled people.

First of all, the parking lot. When it has a capacity of more than 50 spaces, it must include a minimum of 2% of spaces adapted for People with Reduced Mobility (PRM), i.e. with minimum dimensions of 3.30 m wide by 5 m long.

Then, if normal access to the establishment is by steps, the owner must install an access ramp (fixed or removable), with a maximum gradient of 5%.

For the visually impaired, the owner of the establishment must also install warning strips on display windows and glass doors, at a height of between 110 and 160 cm.

Entrance doors must be at least 90 cm wide, to allow a wheelchair through. Clearance in front of and behind the door must be at least 170 cm if the door has to be pushed open, and 220 cm if it has to be pulled open.

The traffic lane inside the restaurant must be at least 140 cm wide, but can be reduced to 120 cm for a short section. There must also be enough space for a wheelchair, or a person with a cane, to make a U-turn.

For establishments with a capacity of over 50 people, a minimum of 2 places must be provided for PRMs, with one extra place for every 50 additional people. These places must be adapted, with sufficient space for a wheelchair, and a minimum table height of 70 cm.

Part of the counter top must be lowered to a maximum height of 80 cm, to enable wheelchair access.

Sanitary facilities must also be accessible and suitable for the disabled, with the following measures:

  • 150 cm maneuvering space with U-turn ;
  • 1.30 x 0.80 m space to the side of the toilet;
  • 0.85 m maximum height for hand-washing basin;
  • 0.45 m height for toilet without bowl;
  • 0.70 to 0.80 m height for grab bar;
  • 0.90 m to 1.30 m height for soap dispensers.

How do I obtain an accessibility certificate for an ERP?

The accessibility certificate must be sent to the prefect of the département, as well as to the accessibility commission of the commune in which the establishment is located.

For 5th category establishments, a simple declaration on honour is sufficient. For 4th category establishments, a certificate of compliance issued by an approved technical inspector or architect, the municipal by-law on the opening of restaurants, and the minutes of the CCDSA “accessibility” inspection group must be sent to the above-mentioned services.

In the event of non-compliance with accessibility standards, the owner of the establishment in question risks a fine of up to €45,000, as well as the administrative closure of his or her establishment.

What exemptions are available for adapting an establishment to accessibility standards?

There are four possible exceptions:

– Technical impossibility of carrying out the mandatory work (space, access, etc.);

– Constraints related to heritage conservation;

– A manifest disproportion between the possible improvements, and the cost, as well as the effects this will have on the establishment and its owner;

– In the case of an establishment located in a co-ownership, refusal by the co-owners to carry out the work, but the owner of the establishment must be able to provide the minutes of the General Meeting of co-owners refusing the work.

Should the owner of the establishment be in possession of a derogation for his/her business, he/she must nevertheless bear in mind that it only concerns external access to the business, and that consequently, all services inside must be accessible to PRMs, whatever their handicap.

So you now have all the information you need about PRM accessibility standards for bar-café-restaurant businesses, and possible exemptions from this obligation to comply with standards.

As a seller, you need to bear in mind that to increase the value of your business when you sell it, you need to highlight the fact that your business complies with standards, since the buyer will not have to carry out any compulsory work in this area.

Would you like more information or advice on selling your business? Use our online procedure. A lawyer in your area belonging to the AGN network will deal with your question, and provide you with an answer, or support, depending on your needs.

Your lawyer is used to dealing with this type of situation, and will be able to find the right arguments to convince the judge and help you obtain a favorable court ruling. Our lawyers are ready to help you. Please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone or e-mail, or to make an appointment online at

AGN AVOCATS – Sale of Business Department

09 72 34 24 72

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