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Dine in the Dark Experience Restaurants

Design and set up "Dine in the Dark" experience restaurant chains in the cities

Photo of Isaac Jumba

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What problem does your idea solve?

About 285 million in the world are estimated to be visually impaired. In general, the society perceives these people as being helpless and needy. The visually impaired feel that society already judges them on what they can do and what they can't do, and therefore do not have the opportunity of showcasing or communicating the true potential, including what the normal beings can not do. Creating an environment for ths visually impaired to lead is a start to changing the narrative.

Explain your idea

According to the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/) 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision. Of these, 90% live in low-income settings. With most of the people having the perception that the visually-impaired are helpless beings and needy, how might we change this narrative while providing income opportunities to them?

The solution to this is to re-design, set-up and replicate the "Dine-in-Dark" restaurant/pop-ups in cities. Dinner in the Dark is described as a concept where dining takes place in absolute darkness, with the experience being hosted and served by the visually impaired. The goal is to change your perspective of the world by inverting your point of view as described by Danslenoir (http://london.danslenoir.com/en/concept-eng/). The concept is not new. Blind Cafe (https://www.theblindcafe.com/sanfrancisco/) among other restaurants have perfected in carrying out this events.

While it has seen already had its success, the focus for the events has always been for the high end market, and with few events. The idea here is to use this model to create more of these restaurants in areas accessible by everyone and making it affordable and create more opportunities for more visually impaired to be involved in running the restaurants, and get income from it, while changing the perception of people on what they can do.

Who benefits?

The visually-impared. The "Dine in the Dark" popup restaurants are completely run by the visually-impaired. This means creating opportunities in the hospitality industry for the visually impaired. An example would be John, he is blind, 28 years old. John is a trained and certified blind chef.

How is your idea unique?

The idea hopes to build on already a tested model. While the existing "Dine in the Dark" experiences are seen as events only for those who can afford $100 for a 1 hour meal, and only done in high end restaurants, and for specific people, the new pop-up restaurants are meant to open up opportunities for more people to enjoy the "dinner in the dark" experience while supporting more visually impaired people, who will otherwise have no opportunities. The idea is to democratize the concept and create room for innovation and creativity

Tell us more about you

I'm part of the organizing team for OpenIDEO Nairobi chapter

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Well, this was meant to be a thoughstarter: How might we change the current narrative and perception that exists concerning people with disability. How can we package that in a way that can "wow" normal people while creating opportunities for the highlighted.

The Dine in the Dark event (the Sixth Sense) is being organized on 29th April here in Nairobi. It's a great opportunity to experience it first hand, see what works, what can't work and if replicability is possible.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Kenya

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've not yet worked in a sector related to my idea but am excited to learn more.

Organizational Status

  • We don't intend to register / don't need to in order to implement our idea successfully.

Idea Maturity

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it.

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Photo of Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH
Team

Great idea Isaac Jumba ! I have heard of these restaurants before. I love that this idea supports the involvement and leadership of people who are blind/visually impaired in the design and operation of the restaurants. This concept stimulates empathy which is essential and has ripple effect in design-thinking community-wide.

Photo of Isaac Jumba
Team

Thank you Lesa. It's something that can be implemented locally.

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