ADA Kiosks – Translating sign language reduce risk of lawsuits

By | February 21, 2017

Restaurants increase sales accommodating deaf and non English speaking customers


Birmingham Alabama, Feb. 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Looking for a simple lunch, a deaf woman recently went into an Alabama restaurant and jotted down her order on a piece of paper. The waiter hustled the request to the kitchen, where preparers tried to decipher the woman’s handwriting.

But when the sandwich she wanted was delivered, it contained tomatoes, which she had said in writing she did not want.

Frustrated, the woman went back-and-forth with the waiter for a few minutes to explain exactly what she wanted. The sandwich ended up having to be remade.

“That experience might keep her from going back to that restaurant,” said Grace Vasa, CEO of technology firm Juke Slot. “Unfortunately, such communication mix-ups are not isolated incidents in the larger restaurant field.”

The inability of restaurants to communicate effectively with all customers both threatens to hurt their businesses and serves as an opportunity to generate additional revenue. But what might seem like an operational hurdle actually can be an easy fix with long-term financial benefits.

Self-ordering kiosks featuring capabilities such as sign language and foreign language translations allow people with conversational difficulties to communicate more easily represent solutions that minimize order errors and strengthen the customer experience.

Such technology would enable restaurants to cater to a different segment of the population – scores of people who struggle with basic communication, not only those who are deaf.

Just as important: It’s good business, industry experts say. Implementing kiosk solutions provide an easy avenue for ordering for those with physical impairments, brain injuries and mental disabilities. That can be of particular importance for those with communications problems who also suffer food allergies, to ensure their messages or notes aren’t misunderstood.

“The kiosk is a game-changer for restaurants when it comes to appealing to ALL customers,” Vasa said. “Every community has people who have some kind of trouble placing an order at a restaurant.”

Potential new consumers

About 54 million Americans have some sort of disability, reports the ADA National Network. Of those some 15 percent of Americans – roughly 49 million people, based on U.S. Census Bureau statistics – are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, requires restaurants to accommodate those with disabilities of all types. So when it comes to accommodating diners with mental and physical challenges, the ADA National Network recommends that restaurants not only make their facilities accessible to all, but also the ability to order, purchase and enjoy a meal as freely as any able person.

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Thanks to Ben Wheeler for spotting this. I just heard about Arbys putting in new ADA devices for POS. After Walmart getting hammered I think everybody is reconsidering ADA.

Author: Staff Writer

Craig Keefner is the editor for Kiosk Industry (Self Service Kiosk Machine). Opinions and point of view here on kioskindustry is not necessarily the stance of the Kiosk Association or -- With over 40 years in the industry and experience in large and small kiosk solutions, Craig is widely considered to be an expert in the field. Major kiosk projects for him include Verizon Bill Pay kiosk and hundreds of others.