Rare Restaurants CEO to make branches guide dog accessible

Martin Williams, CEO of Rare Restaurants, owner of restaurant groups M and Gaucho, is striving to make the groups restaurants accessible to guide dogs and their owners.

The restaurateur is keen to highlight the “ignorance” of some restaurants when it comes to blind dog access, following an incident in which blind handler Dave Kent and his guide dog were refused access to a Franco Manca site in August 2018.

Williams is passionate about the importance of enabling accessibility for all potential customers at his restaurants and believes that the acceptance of dogs – in particular ‘assistance dogs’ – is paramount to this. M was this week shortlisted for three awards in the ‘Blue Badge Access Awards’ and later this year will host a party for 50 guide dogs and their handlers at M Victoria St.

Williams, who took part in a guided blind walk with Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: “Imagine the hurdle of a human denying you and your guide dog entry to a café, bar, or restaurant – it is a shameful act that has no place in hospitality. May I thank Dave and the Guide Dogs for the Blind team for such an educational and special experience.”

Kent added: “I’m so grateful for Martin and his restaurants for welcoming those of us that our blind and our dogs. So many restaurants in the UK are not so generous and refuse to give guide dogs and their handlers entrance.

“This is an absolutely unacceptable state of affairs and needs to be challenged at the highest level. I very much look forward to the guide dog party that Martin is hosting at his restaurant in Victoria, London. These animals are magnificent life-savers and deserve a good celebration.”

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