Hawskmoor staff improve communication with British Sign Language training

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hawksmoor Spitalfields staff receive training in British Sign Language
Hawksmoor Spitalfields staff receive training in British Sign Language

Related tags: Hearing impairment

Front-of-house staff at Hawksmoor's Spitalfields restaurant have been trained in British Sign Language (BSL) to enable them to better communicate with each other and with their deaf and hard of hearing customers. 

Staff taking part in the BSL workshop, delivered by Micky Fellowes of workplace training and consultancy HearFirst, were taught restaurant-related signs and some basic sign language to both help them communicate better with each other across the restaurant floor and with customers who are BSL users. 

Hawksmoor Spitalfields manager Georgie Parrott said: “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.”

The training coincided with Deaf Awareness Week 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.

Hearing loss is estimated to affect more than 11 million people in the UK. 

Julie Ryder, director and founder of HearFirst, said: “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."

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