Miami Company Announces Menus That Talk™

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Portable device speaks in two languages and is customizable to individual restaurants' offerings.

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The menu should add to the dining experience, not be an obstacle

Taylannas Inc., a Florida technology company, announced today plans to introduce Menus That Talk™, a portable hand-held device that describes the contents of a restaurant's menu in two different languages. The company believes restaurant menus should be able to speak to guests: tell them what's for dinner, what beverages are available, and what's for dessert-- and speak in the guest's preferred language. No more squinting in dim light or turning page after page of complex printed menus. No more awkward conferences with busy waiters.

Menus That Talk™ is a slim electronic tablet about the size and shape of a DVD case. An array of lighted buttons shows major menu categories like DRINKS, APPETIZERS, SEAFOOD. When a button is pressed, the menu describes what's available in these categories. No habla ingles? No
problem: just press the language button for Spanish or other languages. Ready to order? The Service button pages your waiter.

For the visually impaired, the buttons are imprinted in Braille. Guests who can't see the button names and don't use Braille can browse the menu simply by tapping buttons to hear categories. Tap again to hear the details.

In noisy restaurants or for the hearing-impaired, Menus That Talk also has a detachable hand-held earphone. The earphone interfaces with most modern hearing-aids as well.

"A menu should be able to communicate without challenging the guest," said President and CEO Susan Perry. The idea originated in a restaurant where Ms. Perry was having lunch with her niece Jessica, a pretty 21 year-old with advanced macular degeneration who cannot read a menu from any distance. Jessica asked her aunt to please read the menu to her. Susan had forgotten to bring her reading glasses and they laughed about it but Susan thought, "Why shouldn't menus be able to talk?"

Susan's niece, Jessica MacWithey described a situation common to visually handicapped restaurant customers. "When I go into a restaurant with friends I usually order something I know they'll have, like a grilled cheese sandwich. I'd love to know what else is available but it's awkward to ask my friends to read the menu to me."

Susan Perry consulted with colleague Richard Herbst, an electronics-savvy designer experienced with hand-held systems. The concept quickly became Menus That Talk. "The menu should add to the dining experience, not be an obstacle," said Mr. Herbst.

Menus are customized to individual restaurants' requirements, starting with the names of the buttons, then the descriptions, and finally the languages spoken. The restaurant is in complete control. Menus are composed in detail online, voices added and the finished product shipped to restaurants for immediate service.


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Richard Herbst, VP Marketing
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