Visually-impaired teen's inspired business printing menus written in Braille for restaurants
20:51 GMT, 19 July 2012
A visually-impaired 15-year-old girl has launched a business that offers Braille menus to restaurants.
Sophie Trist, a teenager from Mandeville, New Orleans, came up with her clever business idea after growing frustrated by the challenges that came with reading ordinary restaurant menus.
She told TheAdvocate.com that incorporating Braille, a reading and writing system of raised dots, into restaurant menus was a thought that she had been sitting on 'for a while'.
Savvy: Sophie Trist, a visually-impaired 15-year-old from New Orleans, has launched a business that creates Braille menus for restaurants
She explained to the Louisiana Restaurant Association that dining out can become a nuisance if a restaurant does not offer its menu in Braille.
'This can be a major problem for visually-impaired individuals,' she said. 'If a sighted person does not accompany me, the simple task of ordering off a menu becomes a challenge.'
In order to grow her new business, which she is planning to keep local, she recently sent letters out to more than 20 restaurants in her area in a plan to solicit their business.
The letters struck a chord with restaurant owners and Miss Trist now offers Braille menus to her local restaurants for a fee of $20 each.
Vital: Braille, seen above, involve the printing system of raised dots that visually-impaired people are able to read
All she needs is an existing menu from a restaurant and she is then able to provide the establishment with a visually-impaired-friendly version.
The teenager is able to create the menus using a Perkins Brailler, a typewriter-like machine that produces Braille documents.
Though it may sound like a simple process that any restaurant could really do for themselves, creating an entire menu is tiring according to the young girl.
'If a sighted person does not accompany me, ordering off a menu becomes a challenge'
She said that creating Braille requires plenty of typing for long periods of time and that it takes less pages to write the same amount of information in ordinary text.
Once the Braille has been set out, the young girl's mother then binds the pages together and places the restaurant's logo on it.
She said she has no plans at broadening her business to cater for restaurants outside of her local area – for the time being, anyway.
'I'm not opening that can of worms,' she said. 'Remember, this is a one-woman business. My fingers can't handle the worldwide work.'