Memphis organization makes reading food menus easier for the visually impaired

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis is a city where food is major ingredient of the culture.

An organization that's on a mission to use technology to improve that culture is launching a new website for people with different abilities

Menus4ALL uses free smartphone technology to serve those who are visually impaired.

"We make it so people who use what is called screen readers, where their phones can talk to them,. We code it so that they can hear the menus," Helen Fernety, CEO of Menus4ALL, said.

The site also allows those who use a Braille device to plug in.

The idea behind the app was developed locally and is aimed at making the enjoyment of eating out easier.

No one likes a surprise on a bill, and it's why developers said they also included a feature allowing customers to hear and read the menu prices.

409 South Main is one of the first eateries to partner with Menus4ALL. It's something the organization hopes will open the door for more restaurants to offer accessible menus.

"For us, having an accessible menu is a game changer. It means I get to go into a restaurant, I'm not having to beg for help, I'm not having to take up the waitress' time," Stephanie Jones, Menus4ALL iOS instructor, said.

Jones is not only a user of the app, but she's employed by the company and serves others.

"You know our people with the blind community, over 70 percent are unemployed, and we are looking to change that number starting here in Memphis," she said.

The Americans With Disabilities Act is in place to make sure people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Developers of Menus4ALL said the website makes inclusion a reality for all customers.

"For mental health, for your social being, you need to be able to go out and enjoy dining," Fernety said.

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