The last time I visited our local Chinese restaurant I was hosting an older gentleman and his wife. He was very aware of my vision loss. His way of trying to assist me was that every time I put down my glass he moved it to a safer spot! His wife took over ordering the lunch and was with difficulty persuaded to read any choices aloud.
Going to a restaurant is a treat because you can enjoy the tastes and smells and conversation, but it is still a very visual setting. Often meals out are eaten at a fast food restaurant during shopping or when traveling. Fast food places, including food courts, have menus up on the wall and cups, sodas and coffee in different spots. They are generally more difficult to handle without a sighted friend even when you have memorized favorite menu items.
But when a meal in a restaurant is a planned event, and the food comes to your table, there are things you can do in advance to increase your enjoyment. If you are invited out by someone else, it is very helpful to find out what restaurant you will be going to. Surprises sound fun, but they take away your opportunity to phone in advance. Choose a time to phone when the staff won’t be busy. On the phone you get details more easily than after you arrive at the restaurant.
Your questions might include:
What are the main sections of the menu? Are there any fixed price meals? What price are the main dishes?
How is the food served? Is everything on one plate, or are vegetables served separately?
Where are the rest rooms? Are there any steps?
Are there booths, or tables in a quieter area?
What forms of payment are accepted?
What is the lighting like? (If you have some sight.)
This is a long list for one phone call, but you can pick and choose your questions.
When you have found a place that works for you and your family or friends, you may like to return there and build up some knowledge and friendly relations with the manager and wait staff.
Nest week: What to order and how to manage the food on your plate.
What are your tips for visiting a restaurant? Let us all know what you have discovered!