Clients with disabilities in a restaurant
Scene from movie "Intouchables"

How to handle clients with disabilities in a restaurant?

02 October 2017  

At first sight, a difficult customer is simply the one who stands out for his troublesome character and lots of criticism. Yet, there are a different sort of clients that might also cause some problems at a restaurant. Which can be quite unsettling if you are, for example, quite new at a waiter job.

There is another type of difficult customers whom employees often forget about.

Unlike computing or construction jobs, customer service requires an employee to deal with the clients face-to-face. Yet, dealing with people is a complex task, since customers tend to vary in temper and in special needs. More particularly, in medical conditions and disabilities. But what are the methods of dealing with the issues they bring?

Partially sighted or blind customers

Let’s say you have to serve a guest which is blind or partially sighted. It means that you might have to warn them of your presence by a gentle touch on the hand, offer them meals that don’t have bones in it and is easy to eat and remember not to overfill the glasses. There are lots of other details which might be difficult to keep in mind. Having a perfect sight, a waiter might not remember to put the glass in the same spot after refilling it. It would also be polite to read the menu aloud in some cases. Most importantly, be prepared to always offer additional assistance to your visually impaired clients.

Guests that are hard of hearing

If the customer is deaf or hard of hearing it might definitely cause some communication problems. In this case, a waiter would have to make sure to speak slowly and clearly, stand in front of a guest and describe the meals in a very simple manner. If possible, position such client at the table that is isolated from noise. Waiter should remain an attentive listener and always read back the orders, in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Customers with limited mobility

Other customers, like the ones with limited mobility also require you to be smart and prepared for complex situations. The server should remember to seat such clients at the table which is not disturbed by the constant movement of other customers and staff. The right table should also let them reach the entrance and get through the door easily.

It is beneficial for an employee to encounter different clients throughout their career. These sort of complicated situations force you to come up with good ideas and solve issues on the spot. It provokes the development of the character and makes you grow as a person and as an employee – this way it prepares you for new job opportunities.

If you are ready to take up the challenge, try looking for a restaurant job in Johannesburg!

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