How Do Restaurants Cater to Special Needs Customers?

We love being served by polite and pleasant waiters wearing their elegant and fancy server aprons, and adorned with bright pleasing smiles. For restaurateurs, their main aim is to create an enjoyable and comfortable experience for all their customers.

When we say all customers, we certainly mean everyone, and it includes even those who have special needs. Restaurants try their very best to cater to all the needs of their guests, and try to provide a pleasant experience for all. Guests whose special needs are met by a restaurant will appreciate the extra attention and care taken by the owners and staff, and of course this will lead to more loyal customers for the business. In addition, many countries have special laws stating the minimum requirements to assist disabled persons or those with special needs to patronize businesses, which restaurants and hotels need to adhere to. This is a very good move by governments who endeavor to create inclusion for such communities within society.

So, what can restaurants actually do to make themselves more accessible to those customers who have special needs?

Braille signs – Braille is a system of dots which represent letters of the alphabet, which can be read by visually impaired persons. Such signs make a restaurant more accessible for them, and even menus can be printed in braille for their use.

Wider aisles – Wider aisles make it easier for those using a wheelchair to move around the restaurant, and ensures that they will not bump into other guests or furniture. It is also useful for the elderly who may be using walkers or canes, or those who may need someone to support or assist them.

Offer help – Restaurant and hotel staff should be especially trained in how to help those customers with special needs, and to be helpful and pleasant at all times. It helps when staff are wearing their branded waist aprons or server aprons, so that guests can identify them easily when assistance is required. Opening doors for such clients, rearranging seating as required, extra help and service at the tables, reading the menu to those who are visually impaired, even knowing sign language to communicate with the aurally impaired are small ways in which the staff can help guests feel comfortable and at ease.

Do not make special needs customers feel uncomfortable – Staff should be given training on how to greet special needs customers the same way they would other guests, and not make them feel uncomfortable with the way the staff behave. Sometimes staff may try to ignore such guests if they do not know how to handle them, which is why extensive training on such situations is vital. It is equally important that staff are aware of the different types of disabilities that people may have and know how to recognize them and cater to their specific needs.

Accessible restrooms – It is always best to have separate restrooms for disabled persons and for the elderly, with special attention given to cater to their needs. Having separate restrooms will also help them to be able to use the facilities more conveniently, rather than waiting in line, if it is a busy night.

Patience – Patience is a very important aspect when dealing with those with special needs, and they should be given sufficient time to settle in to their table, to place their order and even when leaving the restaurant or hotel. Staff should know not to rush such customers and to give them ample time to enjoy their experience at the restaurant, at their own pace.

Making your business more accessible to disabled or special needs customers is a move in the right direction, and very minor changes can make a big difference in the experience they have at your establishment. Braille signs and menus, wider aisles and accessibility to all facilities of the restaurant, including an empathetic and well-trained staff cadre can help your special needs customers to be self-sufficient and independent, and assists greatly towards inclusive living. It is also best that restaurants be aware that certain people with special needs may have service animals with them, and catering to them will be an added advantage. This can easily be done by allocating a separate area for special needs tables, where guests can keep their service animals with them, without disturbing other guests.

Presentation Training and Learning How to Overcome Fears

Learning how to overcome fears of public speaking has never been so tough when you do it alone. The good news is that there is presentation training out there to help with all of your public speaking needs. This is something that a lot of people might think about joining, but then back down because it is a class and there is a fee. But both of these things are well worth it when comparing it to not being prepared in front of a very large crowd.

Learn some of the techniques used to overcome public speaking fears when it comes to the classroom, and learn how to be a wonderful speech presenter.

1. Speaking in front of your class. This is something that is going to make you nervous, but it has to be done, and it can help you overcome your fears of public speaking at the same time.

2. Concentration and relaxation. There are techniques used to calm the nerves when you have to do something scary. Learning these techniques can help you prepare for a large presentation you have coming up. This is something that will relax the mind and body and get you on the right track.

3. Writing a wonderful speech. Without a great speech, you will not feel at your best when it comes to presenting it to a large crowd of people. You want to make sure you know how to write the best speech out there so when the time comes, you’re confident enough to present it to your audience.

Presenting speeches is something a lot of people do not want to do publicly, so they tend to stay away from it. Although, there are people out there who will have to do it no matter what they have going on at the time. This is something that presentation training can help you with. Overcome your fears, and learn how to make the best speech without having to worry about messing up or being a failure.

You can be confident when the time arrives, relax yourself, and even get the reaction from your audience that you want. Some of us are born to speak in front of large crowds, while others would rather not. Getting the best help out there if you’re one of the latter group is essential well in advance to the presentation that you have to do in public.

Why is Color Coding Important in a Kitchen?

In reality, there is a lot going on in a commercial kitchen, and it is one of the busiest departments in a hotel. Kitchen staff work long hours; no sooner have they finished up with breakfast for guests, they need to start on lunch, and soon after that dinner, and all this in addition to specialized meals ordered by customers. So, staff in a commercial kitchen wearing their chef whites, chef aprons and hats are always running around, always working, preparing ingredients, cooking, cleaning.

The internal rules and regulations of a kitchen are far more complex however, and it’s through those rules that they ensure that there is a smooth operation in the kitchen, and that everyone knows what they are supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it. There are also certain industry standards that have to be adhered to in a commercial kitchen, which are mostly in tune with safety regulations when it comes to food preparation, which help restauranteurs avoid unnecessary legal issues when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness.

One such industry standard that kitchens adhere to is color coding the kitchen, including equipment, tools etc which are used daily for food preparation. Certain properties also have different colored uniforms for their staff, distinguishing the hierarchy of the kitchen, with the head chef wearing his chef whites, and all other chefs, cooks and kitchen staff being given different colored uniforms and chef aprons in order to easily identify them according to the job they do.

When it comes to equipment and tools, the commonly used color coding are as follows:

White – bakery and dairy products.

Blue – raw fish.

Red – raw meat.

Green – fruit, salad and fresh vegetables.

Yellow – cooked meat or raw poultry.

Brown – root vegetables.

Pink – vegan food.

Purple – allergenic food.

Black – bar use.

So, what kind of equipment do kitchens usually color code?

Chopping boards – Food safety regulations state that a single chopping board cannot be used for raw meats, cooked meats, vegetables and fruits and other items, and this is why kitchens have sets of color-coded chopping boards, according to the usual color-coding system given above. This also helps kitchen staff to easily identify which board should be used for which item, and will not accidentally mix them up.

Kitchen knives – Using the right type of knife is important both in terms of the safety of the user as well as ensuring food safety. In the first instance, using the wrong knife to cut certain things could result in cuts and bruises and injuries, while it is considered to be unhygienic to use one knife to cut different ingredients (similar to chopping boards). By color coding the knife handles, it makes it easier for kitchen staff, especially trainees who are yet not proficient on which knife should be used to cut which ingredient, to select the right knife they need for the job. It is also an efficient method of training junior kitchen staff regarding the different knives in use in a commercial environment.

Tongs, brushes and Thermometers – Color coding these different types of tools is important since it ensures that each one is used only with the same types of food. Again, food preparation hygiene comes into play here, and regulations state that staff should use different tools for meats, vegetables, fruits, cooked food etc, in order to avoid contamination.

Food packing containers – Different types of food, raw food, cooked food etc should be packed and stored in different colored containers.

What are the benefits of color coding your equipment and tools?

It ensures food safety and reduces the chance of cross contamination of food.
It is convenient for kitchen staff to select the right equipment for the right food items.

When a commercial enterprise makes it a priority to ensure that they conform to industry standards and laws and regulations in their industry, then it is apparent that they are concerned with providing a good service and maintaining the highest possible standards for their establishment. Whether the staff are in their chef whites or in colored uniforms and chef aprons, it does not matter so much, but if they ensure that they are adhering to the highest level of food safety standards, then it can certainly be considered as a responsible commercial venture.