Dave Kent, 58, and his guide dog Chad were refused entry to dine in restaurant Franco Manca on Tottenham Court Road earlier this week.
Mr Kent had arranged a business meeting at the restaurant for 1pm but when he arrived he was told he would have to sit outside. Mr Kent told the Evening Standard:
“The person on the door presented the first challenge, she said we had to sit outside and would not be allowed inside the restaurant.”
“When I asked her why, she said it was because of the dog.”
When Mr Kent persisted, explaining that Chad was his guide dog, a manager was called. However, rather than inform the member of staff that they were in the wrong and that guide dogs are allowed into all establishments by law – the manager proceeded to reinforce that Mr Kent and Chad would not be welcome inside the restaurant.
Franco Manca has since apologised to Mr Kent and offered him a voucher for a free meal in their restaurant, but understandly Mr Kent does not feel this is enough, telling the Evening Standard:
“They just think ‘give them a voucher and they will go away’.
“To have a manager at a corporate establishment be completely unaware of the rights afforded to people with disabilities was so heart-breaking,” he said.
“In London in 2018 it has become a free for all on people with disabilities… this happens everywhere, it happens in shops, it happens in supermarkets…people with disabilities are treated as third class citizens.”
“The older I get the sadder I get and the more gutted I feel that even with all the progress and all the campaigning, people still behave with impunity.”
A spokeswoman for Franco Manca said: “All service dogs are welcome in our pizzerias. This, unfortunately, is the result of an error from individual staff members in one restaurant. We are taking the relevant steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again and have spoken directly with the customer in question to apologise and ensure he knows he is welcome at any of our pizzerias.”
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