At the suggestion of Social Ventures LLC., Tijuana Flats has recently added braille menus to its 93 restaurant locations in an effort to better serve the needs of the blind community.
On any given day, especially Taco Tuesdaze, you will find employees from Social Ventures grabbing lunch at the newly opened Tijuana Flats restaurant located at the River City Town Center in Jacksonville, Florida. As regulars, they have become accustomed to the warm greetings and welcoming voices of the restaurant’s hostesses and managers alike. But, Social Ventures isn’t like every other business in town. As one of the first social enterprises located in Jacksonville, the company was launched with a mission—to create jobs for individuals with disabilities and service disabled veterans.
The company recently launched a new program called Filter Out Unemployment (www.filteroutunemployment.com) which through the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of air filters has the potential to create hundreds of jobs for individuals with disabilities, including those that are blind. And it wasn’t long after the restaurant opened, that Social Ventures employee, Kiel Fanestil, realized that without a braille menu, his blind co-workers would not be able to feel completely independent when eating at Tijuana Flats.
“When Tijuana Flats opened near our office I knew my co-workers would love the food. During one of our first trips one of our call center representatives, who happens to be blind, approached the counter and I had to read everything off to him,” says Kiel Fanestil, director of business development for Social Ventures. “Since I knew that we would be visiting often, I suggested a braille menu would allow individuals who were visually impaired to feel more self-reliant when coming to the restaurant. But in my mind it wasn’t just about my co-workers, it was about the entire blind community.”
After getting to know the restaurant manager, Kiel mentioned to him that a braille menu would be a really great option to have at each restaurant. In the spirit of their genuine hospitality, the manager didn’t think twice about it and within a matter of weeks the River City Tijuana Flats location had braille menus available.
Kiel’s wife, who is deaf, said it best when talking about Tijuana Flats’ decision to add braille menus to their restaurants, “For someone who is visually impaired, a braille menu is another spice of life that should encourage all customers to enjoy Tijuana Flats.”