Dining with a ‘touch’

2017-01-17 06:01
 Mark Cussons reads a Braille menu at Mugg & Bean in Longbeach Mall. PHOTO: Nicole mccain

Mark Cussons reads a Braille menu at Mugg & Bean in Longbeach Mall. PHOTO: Nicole mccain

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A restaurant in Longbeach Mall has gone the extra mile to make disabled customers feel welcome.

Mugg & Bean has held a training session for its staff with blind patron Mark Cussons to teach staff how to serve disabled customers.

Senior manager Gale Louw says she noticed a need for the training when Cussons and his wife, Sharon, were dining at the restaurant.

“The waiters didn’t pick up that he was blind, so I approached him and asked if he read Braille,” she says.

Louw then offered him a Braille menu, and was amazed at how it improved the couple’s experience.

“It’s probably the nicest moment of my whole career,” she says.

The franchise restaurant started offering Braille menus at the end of August, says franchise manager Dean van Buuren, following a social media post about a Pretoria waitress reading the menu to a blind couple.

Cussons usually has to have his wife read the menu to him, and says the Braille menu goes a long way to increase his sense of independence.

“Sharon normally has to read the menu to me, but now she doesn’t have to bother. It gives me a chance to make up my own mind and make my own choices,” he says.

Louw says the restaurant’s staff have also been trained to deal with customers with Alzheimer’s and regularly serve clients with service dogs.

“It’s all about making the customer feel welcome. The brand stands for generosity and we’re just taking that further.”

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