Ask an Expert

1325–75; Middle English (adj.) < Latin expertus, past participle of experīrī to try, experience

Every day we live with the need to communicate. We need to rise above simple translation and see the meaning, when we build a website we need to include everyone (not just the sighted) and when we travel we are faced with challenging physical barriers. I know what it's like and think I have the depth and resources to help others make the right decisions.

Each month I will be responding to a question, chosen from a pool of some of the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and continue to be asked. A complete archive of "Ask an Expert" articles can be found here.

Donna Jodhan, a woman with short dark hair and glasses, sits at a table with a laptop in front of her.

This month, I'd like to answer the following question:

Planning meals for special needs persons

Before you say no or turn thumbs down on these suggestions; consider these thoughts.

You can definitely increase your revenue and reduce both your internal and external costs and here's how.

Take it from me! I have been an accessibility awareness consultant and advisor since 1998 and I continue to help companies to increase their revenues, reduce their costs, and reach hidden consumer markets!

I truly believe that planning meals for persons with special needs is a somewhat unique or niche market but at the same time it is a growing market because of more consumers qualifying for it.

Planning meals is just the start; how about advertising it, delivering it, plus more?

The first fact to keep in mind is that a person with a special need is someone who could be a senior, someone with a physical disability, or someone with a learning, invisible, or vision disability.

With this in mind, here are some very potent tips to get you started.

  • Make sure that your meals are simple; no fuss or no muss. That is, easy for your clients to be able to navigate and negotiate when they embark on eating it.
  • That your meals meet the neutrition and medical requirements of your consumers. That is, be aware of the needs of diabetics, and those who need to follow special diets.
  • Home delivery is always a very welcomed service to consumers with disabilities and served in containers that are easy to handle and open.
  • If you advertise online then you need to go the extra mile to ensure that your website is easy to navigate and negotiate.
  • Then it would definitely be a huge bonus to provide customer service via phone by staff who are suitably trained to communicate effectively with customers with special needs.
  • Make sure that your delivery staff are also suitably trained to communicate with customers with special needs. There is nothing more gratifying to have your customers tell you that your delivery staff was so helpful when they came to their door.

The secret to success lies in planning and executing.

I hope that these tips are a good start for you.