I don't go out to restaurants much, not just because of budget issues but because it's not always a good experience.
So let me give y'all some pointers on how to make Blind & Low Vision Patrons have a better dining experience:
* Offer Braille/Large Print Menus. If you don't have these then contact Braille Works. They offer business to business braille translation & transcription services.
* Offer to Guide them to their Table. If they consent, let them take you by the elbow (so they're half a step behind and can sense through your arm which direction etc.). Let them know of steps up or down and any obstacles in the way. At the table, place the patron's hand on the back of their chair.
* Ask about Seating Preference. Many with Low Vision need a brightly lit area. Optimal place is a window table where they can sit with their back to the window & everyone else they're with are facing the window. Others are sensitive to light and prefer a dimmer area.
* Label your Buffet. I like to know what I'm eating. There's been a time or two where I thought it looked like one thing, but after tasting it turns out to be another. Also for the Blind Patron, offer to be their "foodterpreter" as I call it.
* Describe the Plate. When you've served the food, tell the Blind Patron where everything is on their plate according to a clock face. "Meat is at 3o'clock, veggies at 12o'clock...." Also point out where things may be on the table such as where salt/pepper or condiments are.
* Be respectful. We're all normal adults here! There's no need to shout, or to be condescending, and we don't need help cutting our meat like children. There's no need to feel awkward, nervous or apologize for not knowing what to do. Most of us are proactive in our independence and we will tell you what we need.
Following these pointers would help out immensely and would insure in repeat customers. Besides you'll never know you'll get a visit from the Blind Food Critic!