Five Guys improving VI awareness
In partnership with Sight Loss Councils and Young Voices volunteers, fast food chain Five Guys has launched a new training programme for its 4,000 staff to improve VI awareness.
Managers were horrified when a diner with a guide dog was refused entry into one of its restaurants in Guildford in 2021. They resolved to improve training across the whole organisation and contacted Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) for advice.
The team set out their plans to produce a training module to sit on Five Guys’ learning portal which would include a video specifically on how to greet and serve blind and partially sighted customers.
TPT provided guidelines Sight Loss Councils (SLC) had prepared for restauranteurs. This formed the basis of what the training needed to cover.
Volunteers from TPT’s Young Voices group and Greater Manchester SLC agreed to take part in the training video, ‘How can I help?’, and gave their personal accounts of dining out and how small details can make a massive difference to their experience.
Watch the film ‘How can I help?’
The stars of the film were Lora Fachie MBE and her guide dog Tai, Neil Fachie MBE, Pete Forrester, Mary Gilbertson and Abu-Bakr Ishtiaq from the SLC and Rainbow Mbuangi from TPT’s Young Voices volunteers.
All members gave tips for Five Guys staff and agreed that someone greeting them would really help. Lora shared her experiences when her guide dog has been refused entry into restaurants, how she has to explain it is illegal to refuse a guide dog and how this makes her feel each time.
The training will be a mandatory module for all of Five Guys’ staff, which operates 136 restaurants across the UK. Sarah Salzer, Head of HR at Five Guys, said:
“We have a young workforce. Most of our staff are between 18 and 24.
“This training sits within our larger diversity agenda for which we are promoting greater awareness and engagement among our staff.
“We want to increase their knowledge and confidence and take away some the questions they may have.
We absolutely live by our values. If you don’t have diversity – you don’t have innovation.”
Sight Loss Council Senior Engagement Manager, Iain Mitchell, said:
“Five Guys wants to make sure all customers feel welcome in its restaurants and is committed to improving the knowledge of its staff.
“We hope other restaurants will take a leaf from Five Guys book and think about whether further training is needed to ensure their staff not only understand their legal obligations but also how they can enhance customers’ overall experience. It really is simple things like someone greeting a visually impaired customer and asking if they can help.”
About Five Guys
The first Five Guys location opened in Arlington, USA, in 1986. It has expanded its operations to over 1,100 locations in over 47 states, 6 Canadian provinces and Europe. Since the first Five Guys was launched in 2003, it now operates 136 restaurants in the UK.
The restaurant prides itself on serving burgers and fries how they are meant to be. High-quality Scottish beef, hand cut fries and as many fresh toppings as you wish in any combination you’d like. You can also create your own flavoured shakes with a range of different mix-ins. https://fiveguys.co.uk
About Young Voices
Young Voices is a group of volunteers from across England, aged 14 – 18, who want to bring about positive change for their communities.
Our volunteers are a voice for blind and partially sighted children and young people. They inform and educate society by challenging negative perceptions of visual impairment and advocating for positive change at a local and national level.
Young Voices will make a difference by working to improve experiences within education, employment and engagement whilst also helping young people support health and wellbeing in the VI community, making sure communities are inclusive and helping young people who are blind and partially sighted to develop life and employment skills. www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/young-voices
Publication date: 25 April 2022