Starbucks has announced that it will be introducing large-print and braille menus to all of its restaurants across the United States and Canada starting this summer to help its visually impaired customers.
The braille menus were developed in partnership with National Braille Press.
The coffee giant has also begun offering a service that connects blind and low-vision customers to live-trained visual interpreters who can help them make their purchases.
The new service, Aira, allows customers who download the Aira app to have the layout of restaurants described to them and the menu read to them. They can also get more specific details of what’s in front of them, such as ready-to-eat and -drink options.
Starbucks customers can use the field-tested Aira service for free for up to 30 minutes per visit, according to a release from Aira.
Starbucks says Aria was useful in helping customers with vision loss to navigate physical and digital changes made in response to COVID-19.
In the U.S., every business must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, this from Starbucks goes beyond those basic requirements. It is thought these measures will help the chain reach more customers — roughly 12 million people in the U.S. aged 40+ have impaired vision, including 1 million blind people.
Starbucks already has an ongoing initiative to improve its service to people with sensory disabilities, including nine “Signing Stores” throughout the U.S. where all employees are proficient in American Sign Language. One of those, the Signing Store in Washington, D.C., was one of the sites where Aira was tested.