Dave Kent, 58, who has been blind for 40 years was refused entry to the Tottenham Court Road branch of Franco Manca in London on Tuesday lunchtime, where he was attending a business meeting.
Kent said door staff had refused him entry because of his guide dog and asked him to sit outside, but the manager was called after Kent pressed the matter. He provided an identification card which states it is illegal to refuse entry to guide dogs and was still refused entry.
Franco Manca has since apologised and given Kent a voucher for a free meal in the restaurant. An engagement officer for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association said the voucher was not enough, telling media: “They just think ‘give them a voucher and they will go away’.
The incident sparked outrage on social media with one person calling Franco Manca’s response “dreadful” while another said he had cancelled his booking because of it.
A little training goes a long way. That aside, why not turn a grim episode into something very positive. Your offer of a 'voucher' is dreadful. Why not sponsor the training of three new guide dogs…Franco, Manca, and Pizza? It'd seem reasonable to me.
— colin price (@colinsp) July 4, 2018
Dear @FrancoMancaPizz, after reading the story of 2 staff members turning away a blind man and his dog at your Tottenham Court Rd location, I have cancelled my booking for 11 people this weekend and booked @Carluccios instead. Wont return #Avoid #FrancoManco #Pizza #Guidedog pic.twitter.com/TSvOSL11af
— Brad Hancock (@BDHancock) July 4, 2018
@FrancoMancaPizz shame on you for turning away a blind man and his working dog. It is unethical and illegal. Sort out your policies and train your staff better.
— noodles (@postiveramble) July 4, 2018
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.”