For Larger Customers, Eating Out Is Still a Daunting Experience

Other changes are a nod to design trends and consumer preferences. The Golden Corral buffet chain last year adopted a roomier look that will eventually be adopted in all 491 of its restaurants. There is more space between tables, and sturdy, armless wooden chairs that the company said will lend a homier feel.

Taco Bell has stopped bolting tables to the floor, and has added movable seating in some stores to better serve groups of diners, said Matt Prince, the company’s senior manager for public relations and brand experience.

Over the years, large diners have tried to draw attention to their needs through protests and legal action. The efforts, though, have been sporadic.

In 1994, under pressure from the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, Denny’s agreed to provide seating specifically designed for large people. In 2011, a 290-pound stockbroker sued White Castle, which he said had violated his rights under the disabilities act because he couldn’t fit into its booths. The company added free-standing chairs, and the suit was dropped.

“We haven’t really had much success in doing anything on a big scale to get restaurateurs or designers to listen and start accommodating people of size,” said Peggy Howell, the public relations director for the fat-acceptance organization, which has 11,000 members.

Ms. Howell, 71, is 5-foot-8 and weighs about 300 pounds. When she and friends find a restaurant they like in Las Vegas, where the organization is based, they sometimes bring their own comfortable folding chairs.

The group used to review doctors’ offices and restaurants in Las Vegas. It stopped the practice, but sent its research to Ample, a new review website to help a variety of what its founders call nonconforming bodies — including people who are transgender or use wheelchairs.

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