A deaf person is regarded as one who suffers from hearing impairment in both ears.
It could be a result of acquired or hereditary hearing loss.
If you have ever seen a person in a mall, cafe, or anyplace at all who cannot speak clearly and tends to use signs more, chances are you are dealing with someone who has a hearing impairment.
Some business owners and their employees are often unsure of what to do or how to communicate with them.
This article will serve as a guide to workers in the food industry who will love to know how to take a deaf person’s order and respond to them swiftly.
Table of Contents
- How to Identify a Deaf Person
- How to Take Orders & Serve a Deaf Person
- Case Studies: How Deaf Persons Have Their Orders Taken
How to Identify a Deaf Person
As a business owner or staff who gets to deal with various customers daily, you need to be able to identify people with disabilities, particularly deaf persons, and how to respond to them without making them feel uncomfortable.
There are several ways to identify them but here are a few clues that can assist you in identifying a deaf person.
- Speaking not too clearly or making muffled sounds
- Can hardly understand words, particularly amid crowds
- Difficulty hearing consonants
- Often asking you to speak more loudly, clearly, and gradually
- Wearing a hearing aid
- Turning one part of their ear towards you to be able to hear you properly
- Handling you a note scribbled with what they want
How to Take Orders & Serve a Deaf Person
Trust me, I know how frustrating it can be for people suffering from hearing loss not to be able to get what they want irrespective of how nearly descriptive to the point they are.
This could probably be as a result of a misconception of what they want by whosoever is taking their order. To avoid this misconception, take that bold step in making your business more deaf-friendly.
Here are a few ways to take orders from persons who suffer from hearing impairment:
Use Paper and Pen
Using paper and pen to ask your special customers what they would love to order is a great idea. This is because not all deaf persons can communicate orally and you will be doing them a whole lot of good by being able to understand the exact thing they want.
Use Sign Language
Communicating with your special customers using sign language is very important as they will be able to understand you and vice versa.
Also, urge your employees to learn sign language (even if it’s just a simple hi or hello) to be able to communicate easily with them. There are several resources available online today that teach sign language.
Some companies such as Starbucks (a coffee company) have gone the extra mile by employing deaf persons.
This isn’t a bad idea as it will help foster the use of sign language and also make orders from deaf persons be responded to swiftly. This will make the communication between the customer and the employee very seamless.
I strongly recommend that other organizations should emulate this too.
Show Them Your Menu
Another great way to take a deaf person’s order is to show them your menu and let them point to the items on your menu to decide on which one to go for.
Offer Online Order
With the technological advancement today, almost anything can now be ordered online and delivered to wherever you want.
Deaf persons can also take advantage of this by placing orders online instead of having to go through the stress of communicating physically with any business vendor.
Patience and Respect
While taking orders from persons suffering from hearing loss, business owners and their employees need to be as patient as they can with them. This is to ensure that they do not only get their order but also comprehend them properly.
Respect, they say, is reciprocal. Wherever respect for individuals exists, peace will co-exist there.
Hence, be kind, respectful, and courteous to your customers, even if they are suffering from hearing loss. Smile a lot with them and watch them not only come back for your products and services but also refer more people to your business.
This could help expand your business even more.
Create a Drive-Through System
Another innovative way to take orders from hearing impaired persons is to enable a drive-through system that has a video screen.
A drive-through can be situated in a busy location where people can easily access without having to obstruct traffic in any way.
A video screen drive-through system saves a deaf person the stress of struggling to place an order; all that’s required of them is to use sign language to communicate what they want. Once employees see a customer using sign language via the screen, they will be able to attend to that customer promptly.
This will help employees to visually take their orders through sign language from special customers.
Case Studies: How Deaf Persons Have Their Orders Taken
Let’s hear from a few persons with first-hand experience on how hearing-impaired persons have their orders taken.
Michele Westfall is a deaf and native American Sign Language (ASL) speaker who asserted that deaf persons can take care of themselves and cannot be stymied or stuck when it comes to placing an order. He stated that they simply use paper or pen as well as place an order on their smartphone.
Tasha Sim is an assistant program administrator who shared her experience while working as a server. She talked about a deaf woman who always came to their restaurant.
Tasha explained how the special woman pointed to the type of food she wanted on the menu and how she was also able to read lips well. Thankfully, Tasha was also able to learn sign language because of this woman.
Stephen Green-Tharp disclosed that he is deaf but he loves to write down everything he wants.
He further stated that there are only a few persons who use sign language in the neighborhood where he recently moved to, hence, the reason he always has a pen and paper or better still, use a note app on his smartphone.
Tiffany Tillet is a former product development engineer. He shared his experience about a deaf woman who always came in regularly to the restaurant he had worked at before.
He explained that the woman will always hand them a sheet of paper and they would ring it in. Then, they will either show her the total on the register or write it on a sheet of paper only if their register display was broken. This always worked well for her.