Release Date: 
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

New Accessibility Features Coming to PrestoPrime EMV System

E la Carte, Applebee’s® Grill + Bar, National Federation of the Blind, and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco Announce Collaboration to Make In-Restaurant Table-top Tablets Accessible to Blind Guests

Redwood City, Calif. (January 9, 2018): E la Carte, Inc., creators of the PrestoPrime™ EMV System™ for full-service restaurants, and Applebee’s® Neighborhood Grill + Bar, announced today a partnership with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco to produce a text-to-speech capability for the PrestoPrime EMV System that will be incorporated into all current and future Presto tablets, including those used in Applebee’s Grill + Bar restaurants nationwide. This enhancement is a result of collaboration among these organizations and several blind members of the NFB in California to develop new functionality that enables blind persons to interact with the Presto System.

The new Presto tablet functionality enables blind persons to independently order menu items, pay their bills, and perform other functions using the tablet that is provided for guests to enhance their in-restaurant dining experience. By performing certain gestures, blind patrons can turn on the text-to-speech capability of the tablets in order to access the new functionality. In addition, blind patrons can take advantage of the audio jack available on newer PrestoPrime EMV tablets to activate the text-to-speech capability by simply plugging in a pair of headphones. The audio jack on PrestoPrime EMV tablets can be found and identified by a Braille tactile label located next to the jack.

E la Carte and Applebee’s have been working with the National Federation of the Blind and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco for the past several months to develop the new functionality, which has been tested by blind consumers. This continued testing, and the related feedback, will help E la Carte to fine-tune the technology to provide a user-friendly experience for blind consumers that is similar to other mobile and small screen device applications.

“Like many new technologies, the E la Carte system has the potential to provide the blind with greater independence than ever before, since we will now be able to access a restaurant’s menu choices in the same way that other customers do,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “We therefore applaud E la Carte in its efforts to provide to blind diners the same access to the Presto System that sighted persons enjoy, while also helping the restaurants who deploy the system comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other applicable laws.”

“E la Carte is proud to have produced a PrestoPrime EMV user experience for blind persons,” said Rajat Suri, founder and CEO of E la Carte. “The assistance we received from the National Federation of the Blind and Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco was invaluable to the achievement of a user experience that is familiar and comfortable for blind users.”

“We are thrilled with this outcome,” said LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin, “Thanks to this collaboration, the E la Carte tablet will work for blind people, not just at Applebee’s, but at any restaurant that uses it. We hope others will follow their lead.”

The new accessibility functionality will be included as a standard part of the Presto System and tablets and is available to all E la Carte customers.

Attorneys at Brown Goldstein & Levy LLP, Disability Rights Advocates, and TRE Legal Practice helped facilitate this collaboration.