Serving The Deaf In Restaurants

Today, I’d like to talk about serving deaf people in restaurants.

Myself, I’m fortunate to be able to speak and hear (somewhat) despite being deaf. So I have no problems ordering food at a restaurant,  whether it is a sit down place or a fast food place. Every now and then, I do get the occasional server who may be looking down at her notepad while she is talking so I can’t read her lips. Or the sever may talk too fast like “Doyouwantfrieswiththat?” and I’m like, what???

As long as the sever faces me and talks clearly, I have no problem ordering food at restaurants. But what about the deaf people who cannot hear at all and do not speak? Usually they communicate by sign language.

Just as there are many different spoken and written languages (English, French, Spanish, etc), there are also many different types of sign languages. There is American Sign Language. There is British Sign Language. And so on. Today, we’ll talk about using American Sign Language (ASL) in a restaurant..

Typically, a deaf person may write down what he wants to eat or point at an item on a menu. But the sever still has to communicate with the deaf customer. To make things easier for the deaf customer, it might be helpful for the server to know many common phrases in ASL when serving a customer such as “May I take your order?”

This YouTube video is a great tutorial for learning some common phrases used in restaurants when using ASL. I’m not saying a server has to be fluent in sign language. But it will go a long way with the deaf customer if the sever at least makes an effort to learn some common phrases used in a restaurant to communicate with that deaf customer. The deaf customer will most likely be happy with the service, leave a nice tip and perhaps come back again.

If you are a server reading this and live in another country, find out what form of sign language is used in your area, do a search on YouTube for that specific sign language for servers, and take the time to learn it.  Your deaf customers will most certainly thank you 🙂

As always, leave a comment below or drop a message on my Facebook page. Until next time, stay tuned 🙂

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