Restaurant Accessibility: Don’t Forget About the Gift Cards

Posted on: January 22, 2020 by RMS Hospitality

Restaurant gift cards have been rising in popularity among holiday shoppers over the years and it doesn’t seem to be trending down at any point. And while some people are opting for digital gift cards where recipients can use that value online, especially for mobile food ordering, using the cards at a restaurant is still commonplace.

But with this rise in gift card usage at restaurants comes an issue for the restaurants themselves: lawsuits.

While it’s not unheard of to come across a story of a restaurant being sued for things like food poisoning or burning incidents, it’s not very well-known how much gift cards play a role in accessibility issues. Recently, visually impaired plaintiffs have filed a number of class-action lawsuits in the United States against establishments and retailers who have allegedly violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not including braille on the cards.

In the recent lawsuits, put into motion in October of 2019, the plaintiffs allege that they are legally blind and need braille in order to read written materials. Gift cards resemble credit cards to the touch, making it difficult for these individuals to tell the difference. The plaintiffs have stated that they are deterred from visiting the restaurants where they have gift cards and are being denied the equal enjoyment of those locations.

These filings are some of the first claims regarding the accessibility of gift cards, bringing up questions around whether or not restaurants or gift card companies need to include braille on the cards. What’s more, the issue at hand is also opening up the door to the potential additional need for braille on other items, like tags and labels in other stores.

For now, it’s not certain whether or not restaurants will need to apply braille to cards or menus, for instance, but it is still a good choice to opt for restaurant insurance to gain protection from claims like these. Whether or not someone sues for lack of braille or a burnt tongue, having restaurant insurance will offer the right level of protection, including paying out settlements and paying for legal representation.

In addition to opting for restaurant insurance, restaurants can install a few practices in order to avoid claims. They include:

  • Ending physical cards altogether
  • Exclusively offering electronic gift cards
  • Include braille on cards moving forward to make sure all potential guests are represented

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom-tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.

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