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Imagine you're a café or restaurant owner, how would you look after your visually impaired/blind patrons?

    1. Make sure the entryway is level.

    Should be a no-brainer for everyone's safety but.........

    2. Keep treats on hand for the working dogs.

    Dog owners have different feelings about this. Make sure the staff asks first.

    3. A little training and roleplaying with the staff

    Many people have no experience with those who are sight impaired. This can be fixed. Simple things like explaining the menu or directions to the rest room without the customer asking. A simple "How can I make your time with us easier today?" will go a long way. Likewise, simple statements like "Here is the drink you ordered. And your silverware is wrapped in the napkin on your left." When done with practice, it sounds natural and effortless. My experience is that these small clues are often appreciated.

    4. Table service for anyone with a disability

    This of course applies to cafes where you are expected to approach the counter to order. Not required but a nice option.

    5. Braille menus?

    I'm sure these exist but I feel that they would be used so infrequently that it's not practical.

    6. Tabletop kiosks

    More and more places have kiosks on the table where you can order and/or pay. Having these equipped with a voice prompt option would be beneficial.

    7. Would you care for a quieter table?

    8. Avoid strong color contrasts on the floor.

    Extreme example. White flooring with a black carpet may be perceived as a solid obstacle or an opening in the floor to some, depending on level of impairment.

    9. But do have contrasting textures on the floor to act as a guide.

    For example, if the restaurant has wooden floor, have something different leading to the main desk, host station, etc. Maybe a carpet runner. Maybe an inlay. Difference in pattern and texture to help delineate the main path.

    10. Make sure the staff is communicating about temperature.

    If a plate, mug, or bowl is unusually hot or cold, let the customer know. This should be done for everyone but seems even more important here.

    11. Whenever possible, have an outdoor seating option.

    Although my experience is limited, I have noticed that people who are disabled by a loss of sight or hearing may end up spending too much time indoors. Having the opportunity to sit with your tea and listen to the birds or feel the sun can truly increase the enjoyment of a meal out.

    12. Sturdy furniture

    Again, a safety factor for everyone. It is not uncommon for folks to use the back of a chair or booth or the edge of a table as a reference point when either standing or sitting. If these are not sturdy or tend to slide, this can be a hazard.

    13. Decorations

    Fresh flowers can be expensive to have or maintain but provide a great ambience and a multi-sensual experience. Art on the walls should be simple prints, bold patterns, and or fewer larger items as opposed to more smaller ones. Lighting should be more than adequate without being glaring or obnoxiously bright.

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