Thursday 26th May 2016 – 10:49am
Staff from Hawksmoor restaurant have been learning BSL signs to help them communicate with each other across the restaurant floor and improve their communication skills with deaf customers
An award-winning steakhouse restaurant has invested in staff training to improve its overall business operations and the experience delivered to its deaf customers.
Staff at the Hawksmoor steakhouse in Spitalfields, London attended an in-house British Sign Language (BSL) training workshop to help them communicate better with each other across the busy restaurant floor but also with their customers who are BSL users.
The training, which was delivered by Lancashire-based workplace training and consultancy company HearFirst, aimed to introduce staff to learn restaurant related signs and develop both their signing ability and deaf awareness generally. Their new skills will help them to communicate better with each other across the restaurant floor rather than shout to each other but will benefit customers who are deaf, deafened, deafblind or hard of hearing.
The fun and interactive training coincided with national Deaf Awareness Week – a week-long campaign earlier this month, which aims to improve the understanding of the different types of deafness by highlighting the methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deafblind and hard of hearing people, such as sign language and lipreading.
The staff training was facilitated by Mickey Fellowes, a HearFirst tutor who is deaf himself. The interactive, inspirational and personal examples that Mickey brings to the workshops adds relevance and depth to the training, which was reflected in the feedback from staff.
Georgie Parrott from Hawksmoor, said: “The training was very well run and had the right blend of fun, facts and interaction. All of the staff who attended the course really enjoyed it and asked lots of questions.
“We are aiming to create an even slicker service as we shall be able to communicate across the restaurant floor using BSL without interfering with the ambience of the restaurant. Instead of using secret signs as in some restaurants, we are providing staff with an internationally recognised sign language which they have been regularly using and testing each other since we had the training.”
Julie Ryder, Director and Founder of HearFirst, said: “Our goal with all HearFirst courses is to provide value for money, thought provoking, fun and interesting training that motivates and inspires people to make real changes for people.
“The BSL training that the management team at Hawksmoor initially identified was a business benefit to encourage all staff to communicate with each other across the restaurant floor using signs such as steak, cutlery, desert menu and sparkling water etc but the skills they have now learnt will also benefit their deaf customers thus improving their overall experience.
“As a follow up and to help staff refresh their memory on some of the key signs they learnt, we have produced a short video, accessible through You Tube, so they can refer to if need be.
Hawksmoor has restaurants across the UK in London and Manchester and has recently unveiled that it will be opening a Hawksmoor New York restaurant in the World Trade Centre at the end of this year. The restaurant is renowned for its scrumptious steaks and has won a number of high profile industry and business awards including being ranked twelfth in the Sunday Times Best Companies to work for 2016.
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