Rashays restaurants become more deaf-friendly

More inclusive: Auslan trainer Raian Hoblos (left) teaches sign language to Rashays staff member Virginia Valdivia. Photo: Wolter Peeters
More inclusive: Auslan trainer Raian Hoblos (left) teaches sign language to Rashays staff member Virginia Valdivia. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Rashays Casual Dining has announced all of its restaurants will be deaf-friendly by the start of 2019.

The nationwide commitment from the restaurant brand will include Macarthur’s three Rashays locations in Narellan, Campbelltown and Mount Annan.

Rashays Punchbowl staff were the first to learn Auslan (Australian sign language) as a part of the initiative.

Store owner Bashar Krayem said his staff jumped at the opportunity to learn.

“We live in the community and we are around community, so we try our best to deal with the community in the best way possible and whatever work we can do to create a good environment for community,” he said.

“Our aim is to be the most inclusive restaurant in Australia.”

Rashays Mount Annan owner Martin Nazir said he was very supportive of the nation-wide initiative.

We don’t care what background you have or what disability you have – we’re not here for one type of person, we are here for everyone.

Martin Nazir

“We don’t care what background you have or what disability you have – we’re not here for one type of person, we are here for everyone,” he said.

“We have served a lot of deaf people in the past, and I’m a big fan of helping people out in any way we can.”

While Mr Nazir could not confirm when local restaurant staff would receive Auslan training, he said he was looking forward to providing customers with a more inclusive restaurant.

“We haven’t been told when training will start will start yet as it has only just been launched at Punchbowl,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic idea.”

On May 18, Rashays Punchbowl also opened its doors to customers with autism and their families by hosting sensory hour dinners.

The restaurant dimmed its lights, turned off electronics and stopped using machinery that made excessive noise.

The event was a success for diners and staff.

Rashays Punchbowl now hosts a regular sensory hour every Wednesday from 5pm to 6pm.

Mr Nazir said he would like to see sensory hour come to one of the Macarthur restaurant locations if it could be accomodated by the restaurant and staff.

For more information about the initiative visit: www.rashays.com.