Increasing understanding – Bespoke bar runners

Mitchells & Butlers – O’Neill’s, Preston

Introducing bespoke bar runners with a simple sign language has been a big hit with staff and customers at O’Neill’s in Preston.

The pub worked with Olusegun Babatunde who runs the company ‘YouMeSign’ to produce the bar runners to assist staff to communicate and understand deaf customers when they were ordering.

Around 800,000 people in the UK are severely or profoundly deaf. Many of these people will use British Sign Language (BSL) to communicate.

Olusegun was a regular at his local O’Neill’s. However as a profoundly deaf person he often struggled to communicate effectively with bar staff who did not know sign language and therefore often misinterpreted his order or charged him incorrectly.

As he had done a graphic design degree at University, Olusegun came up with the idea to produce materials with simple sign language so that both staff and customers could understand each other.

Through meetings with the manager of his local pub and researching other pubs in the area he developed template bar runners with the BSL symbols, which could then be branded to fit into any pub.

The products have since been used in Preston O’Neill’s and a number of other pubs in the local area.

O’Neill’s staff find the product innovative, fun and accessible. It builds up a basic knowledge of sign language and helps to overcome some of the communication barriers that deaf customers might encounter in a pub when ordering.