One of the most essential aspects of any restaurant, apart from the food, is the service. The waiters and other serving staff have to be courteous, kind and above all, must be able to communicate effectively with the customers. Though the staff at a new Canadian restaurant does exhibit these qualities, they have a small limitation that would have been a valid reason for dismissal of their application as a waiter.
While a restaurant may consider hiring a person with a broken arm or a leg, they simply wouldn’t hire a person with speech or hearing impairment. But Canadian restaurateur Anjan Manikumar is doing just that. He is piloting a first-of-its-kind dining concept that seeks to bring jobs to the deaf while also bridging an age-old communication gap.
Aptly named “Signs,” the restaurant in downtown Toronto has an extensive staff of 50 and all of the waiters are completely deaf. Guests here simply can’t speak out their orders. They need to place their orders in the American Sign Language, reported The Business Insider.
The menus placed alongside them, have helpful instructive icons that guide the guests about how to place their orders without uttering a single syllable. Using the American Sign Language illustrations in the menu, customers have to interact with their deaf waiters. Of course, if it gets a little too difficult, customers can always ‘cheat’ by pointing out items in the menu, reported Entrepreneur.
Anjan got the idea about opening a restaurant that promoted such mute conversations, when he himself was a waiter and catered to a deaf customer who ordered by pointing at items on the menu,
“I felt he wasn’t getting the service he deserved. He wasn’t getting the personal touch.”
Why start a restaurant with such a selective intention? 37.5 percent of deaf Canadians are unemployed as reported by the Canadian Association of the Deaf. In the U.S., the total unemployment rate for disabled workers (12.1 percent) is nearly double that of the non-disabled community (6.3 percent), reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While you may think hiring a disabled waiter might be a recipe for disaster owing to the extensive misunderstanding arising out of miscommunication, Anjan assures it is certainly not the case. “Signs’ unique, conjoining experience seeks to transcend such miscommunications,” said the restaurateur.
While it certainly is a challenge to train the customers (and not the waiters) to patiently give out orders, opening a restaurant with only deaf waiters seems like a great gesture.
[Image Credit | Entrepreneur, Signs Restaurant, LimpingChicken]