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Menu reader app brings accessibility to visually impaired guests

16 June 2015 by
Menu reader app brings accessibility to visually impaired guests

A new app that makes menus accessible to visually impaired guests is beginning to gain acceptance among casual dining operations.

The Good Food Talks app is a free text to speech software system that also offers colour inversion and print size alteration for smartphones and other devices.

According to founder Matt Wadsworth the app means that operators can make their menu accessible to anyone without altering their website.

"I've created a platform that is accessible to anyone," he said. "Users can view the website in any way they want. It means people with visual impairments can search for a nearby restaurant which offers this type of assistance and read the menu independently.

"For the operator it makes sense in a business sense."

Visually impaired himself, Wadsworth developed the app after becoming frustrated by having to ask a dining companion or waiter to read the entire menu.

He added: "There are braille menus but with the best will in the world they are offered on a tokenistic basis and are often huge.

"For a visually impaired person the iPhone is the most powerful invention since braille."

So far 750 venues have implemented the app, which is supplied on an annual subscription basis, including Carluccio's, Pret, the Roof Gardens in Kensington and Nando's.
Wadsworth added that Nando's had more than 3,000 hits on its menus in the first two months of using Good Food Talks.

He said: "My vision is that it will be useful for sighted people too as there is also an option to view menus in an OpenDyslexic font for dyslexic customers.

"We're about to roll our phase two as well, which will give operators more back end control to make more frequent menu changes."

Ed's Easy Diner is one of the latest operators to partner with Good Food Talks. The group also launched a gluten-free menu in March, offering 85% of the same dishes on the regular menu and accredited by Coeliac UK.

Chief executive Andrew Guy said: "We are thrilled to be partnering with Good Food Talks and feel passionate about making the Ed's experience as easy as we can for everyone."

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