Dave Kent and his guide dog Chad were left “humiliated” on Tuesday as popular pizza restaurant Franco Manca refused the pair service — despite this being against the law.
Mr Kent, 58 attempted to visit the restaurant’s Tottenham Court Road location on Tuesday lunchtime before the incident happened, as reported by the Evening Standard. Staff initially told Kent that he would have to sit outside — as is most common when customers visit with pets. Guide dogs, however, are exempt from these rules according to the Equality Act of 2010. It is nothing less than illegal to refuse service in this situation.
Kent said, “When I saw the manager I produced my identification card which clearly states the law which says it is illegal to turn guide dogs away from establishments.” There was nothing doing, however, and the manager of the establishment remained adamant that Kent and Chad would have to leave the premises.
While Franco Manca have apologised and offered Kent (and hopefully Chad) compensation, the problem is clearly not with an individual incident, but with a general misconception and even neglect of laws surrounding access in restaurants. While individual staff “errors” may occur, it is the responsibility of the company at large to provide appropriate training, and to ensure that that training is used in real world situations.
Franco Manca said in a statement:
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.
Update: July 4, 2018, 10:12 a.m.
This article was updated to include a statement from Franco Manca.