Our lesson from turning all of McDonald’s Israel restaurants into accessible environments for the blind and visually impaired.

McDonald’s Israel deployed RightHear beacons in all of its restaurants to turn them into more accessible environments for people who are blind, low vision or with other orientation challenges. In this post, we are sharing our main takeaways from this exciting collaboration.

When we started RightHear 3 years ago, we were mostly thinking about turning large complex spaces into accessible environments for our users. We were thinking about large Hotels, Shopping malls, Airports etc’. We thought that the bigger the indoor space is – the more difficult it would be to find your way inside of it for the blind or visually impaired users of ours.

We were wrong.

The truth is that it doesn’t really matter what is the size of the space, the difficulty to orientate indoors for a blind or visually impaired person in a large or a small environment – remain the same. While there are fewer chances to get lost in a small space in comparison with a larger one, the helpless feeling of where am I? And where is everything? – remain the same feeling.

Once we realized this insight, we started to think about small environments that are well distributed across the country and the power brand of McDonald’s were one of the very first to come in mind.

Working with McDonald’s Israel is inspiring on many levels and in this post, I’d like to share with you our main takeaways from it after completing almost a year of active operation in all of their restaurants across the country.

Efficiency like no others.

If you watch the movie “the Founder” you probably know what I’m about to write in this section. If you haven’t just take a minute to watch this short video from the movie about how they managed to prepare their meals from their early days.

Even today, the efficiency of McDonald’s is inspiring and this is something they are demanding from all of their vendors, including RightHear.
Because of that, we needed to plan carefully the deployment process of the beacons so all McDonald’s restaurants in the country will be accessible for the blind and visually impaired almost at the same time.
It was a challenge we’ve been able to win and took many notes along the way for future wide-scale projects.

Details oriented as hawks.

Managing large operations like McDonald’s is hard by nature, and the larger the operation is – the ability to get down to the smallest details becomes even harder.
We were amazed by McDonald’s executives, at all levels, on their ability to get down to the smallest details of our mutual project. From the planning phase, through the deployment stage and even now to the maintenance and usage tracking of it. McDonald’s truly cared about every little piece that is in relation to it, which also lead me to the next thing we learned from this collaboration.

Inclusion as a strong part of the DNA.

Inclusion is not just another value on McDonald’s Company Values list. It is an inherent strong part of their DNA and this is not very common. How do I know that? Because there were 3 main signals that point at it during our work with them:

1. Part of the people that we work with at their team has disabilities. When inclusion is a strong part of your company’s DNA, you hire the best talents regardless of their ethnicity, disabilities, gender, religion or anything else.

2.McDonald’s immediate understanding of the importance of turning their restaurants into more accessible environments for the blind and visually impaired is another signal. Unfortunately, not all the companies that we work with understand the importance and impact of RightHear as quickly as the executives at McDonald’s did.

3. It’s been almost a year since we completed the deployment of the system at all McDonald’s restaurants and yet, they haven’t published almost anything about it. “This collaboration with you is not about the press or the marketing effect it will create for us, but about its core social impact, it makes for an audience that we truly care about” – as one of McDonald’s VP told me.

After almost a year since we completed the deployment of our accessible spots (beacons) at all of McDonald’s restaurants in Israel and by doing that, turning them into more accessible for people who are blind, visually impaired or with other orientation challenges – we are happy to announce that McDonald’s is RightHear!

Watch the video about this exciting collaboration:

Want to learn more about this case study? – contact us.

Now that McDonald’s is RightHear, what about your venue?