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For February 2011:

Restaurant Accessibility

How can restaurants be made more accessible to blind patrons?

This may not be as difficult as you may think. When it comes to accessibility, it all has to do with ensuring that blind patrons are able to access such things as:

  • Your establishment from outside.
  • Easy access to tables with enough room for guide dogs if required.
  • Staff should be trained to provide proper guiding techniques to blind patrons.

That menus can be easily accessed and here is where there are several schools of thought.

I'll give you a few suggestions to get you started.

Firstly, more restaurants are making their menus available online so it is vitally important to ensure that these menus can be easily access by blind patrons with screen reading and print enlarging software. These are two pieces of software that blind persons use in order to read. You need to ensure that picture, graphic, and icon representations have full textual equivalents. In addition, that alt text tags are provided for all images and that there are equivalent keyboard alternatives for all mouse pointer movements.

Secondly, many blind persons often ask restaurant staff to read them the menu upon being seated at their table. Staff need to be trained in this rudiment as well as to be able to aptly describe what is on the menu and help the blind patron to navigate the place settings on the table.

Thirdly, Restaurant staff need to be trained to render assistance to washrooms if asked by the blind patron. Of course, there are always other variables for you to consider but I think that this is a good start.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your free lance writer and roving reporter wishing you a terrific day.
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