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Meeting the Customer Service Standard (CSS): Restaurant Menus

Jan 1 Deadline is right around the corner, is your Menu Accessible to All?
By Geof Collis
December 8, 2011

All businesses with at least one employee will have to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Customer Service Standard (CSS) taking effect Jan. 1, 2012.

With regards to Restaurants you need to have a policy on allowing people to use their own assistive devices to access your Goods and Services and that includes your menu.

Some Restaurants might have Braille and large print menus but what if your potential Customer cant read either?

What if the Customer asked your Server to read it to them, not just once but twice?

What if you had a number of Customers asking for this option at the same time? Does it make good business sense to tie up your Employees in this manner?

On the other hand, what if they did not want it read to them at all and wanted to use their own assistive device. What do you do?

Currently there is another way for you to fulfill the Law and it is an Online Service called aMENU (www.amenu.ca)

Originally it was designed to let Blind and Partially Sighted people access it with their Assistive Devices, screen readers, but it soon became apparent that anyone with Internet access could also take advantage of it and that includes Mobile Devices, you dont even need to be in your Restaurant to view your menu . Tourists perhaps?

aMENU also has a number of different options:

  • Regular and large print, black text on a white background;
  • Regular and large print(high contrast), white text on a black background;
  • Off white for those with Dyslexia and
  • Mobile versions of regular and high contrast.

All of a sudden your Menu has become accessible to a larger Market of Clients and you are fulfilling the CSS!

But wait!!

Some of you say you have a menu on your website and also in a PDF.

Sorry to disappoint you, I’ve been to many of your websites and along with your PDF’s they are not accessible either.

Hang on a sec you chime back!! I’m on Facebook, Goldbook and a number of other Restaurant related websites!

Again, sorry to disappoint you, I’ve been to them as well and they’re just as inaccessible and of course you cant rely on others to deal with your Accessibility concerns, they’ll have their own to contend with.

So we’re back to fulfilling your obligations under the CSS and at this point aMENU is a service that can help in the absence of the choices you have to offer.

Owners can view a presentation at www.amenu.ca/presentation or visit a live Menu at Macy’s Diner & Delicatessen.

There are fines for not complying, they range from $200 as an administrative penalty to as much as $50,000 to $100,000 a day but is it worth the risk when a reasonably priced service like aMENU can address this at the same time increasing your bottom line?

The new Standard isn’t designed to turn Business upside down, just do things differently to accommodate, in the end we all benefit.

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