Eating out at restaurants with friends and family is an enjoyable and important experience for a lot of people. You have shared some of your tips on eating out at restaurants when you have a visual impairment, to help you to keep it an enjoyable experience.
Adjusting the environment
- Remove clutter from the table if you can, it makes life easier.
- When booking, make sure you ask about lighting over the table. Too much or too little light can cause issues. Also, choose a quieter area, so you can hear what your friends are saying; it’s hard to part lip-read in a noisy environment and you don’t want to miss out.
- Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a seating area in the restaurant where the location suits your needs e.g. close to toilets, near to a window etc.
- Carry your symbol cane so that the restaurant is aware of your needs.
- Take a small task light, it’ll help you see the menu and your plate. You can even stand your menu up if you don’t want others to see it, and you’d be surprised how many people wish they had one too!
- Download the Good Food Talks app to your phone or tablet. It enables you to download the restaurant’s menu and make it easier to read by adjusting the fonts, size or contrast.
- Make sure you have your preferred app on your phone for either magnifying the text in a menu or for reading it out to you - for example, the ‘Seeing AI’ app.
- Look at the menu online beforehand if this is available.
- If struggling with the menu, ask for help from a member ofstaff – they may even be willing to give you a recommendation based on their own experience/knowledge.
- Ask if the venue has a large print menu. If they don’t, it’ll at least get them thinking.
- This may also trigger the conversation with the staff and you can feel more confident about asking them to read the menu out to you.
Food and drink
- If you struggle with meat on the bone either ask them to cut this for you in the kitchen or choose fillet options.
- Ask waiters to tell you where the glasses are on the table.
- Ask friends to pour your drinks.
- If you order something light in colour, ask if they have darker plates they could put it on.
- Take a coloured paper napkin with you and if the tablecloth is white, place it on the table in front of you before the waiter puts your plate down so that there is good contrast between the plate and the napkin.
- Ask for wine in a tumbler with a sturdy wide base. It’s easier to grip,less easy to spill and you get a decent measure.