McDonalds SA leads with the blind

2012-01-16 12:34
Cape Town - Fast food chain McDonalds is using an incident in which a blind woman and her guide dog were chased out of one its outlets to improve service for its disabled customers, its South African MD said on Monday.

Greg Solomon said he and two directors met Sanet Gouws, 33, her Labrador guide dog Grover, her mother Tienkels Gouws and her sister Susan Botes for lunch earlier in January at the restaurant in Pretoria from which they were chased.

"It was a good meeting. Sanet gave us a few thoughts and opinions on how we can improve our service for blind people. We have taken those into account."

Dog was wearing a harness

Gouws, who was being guided by 2-year-old Grover, had wanted to buy a milkshake at the fast food outlet in Mayville.

After she, her mother and sister ordered and sat down, a staff member told them to move outside as it was against McDonalds' policy to allow dogs in the restaurant.

At the time, Grover had been wearing a special harness and guide dog identification tag.
Sanet Gouws, from Worcester in the Western Cape, had been visiting her family for Christmas.

Solomon said that as a gesture of goodwill McDonalds had made a donation to the SA Guide Dog Association. The restaurant would also sponsor the training of a puppy as a guide dog.

"As soon as [a] litter is born, McDonalds will adopt a puppy," he said.

More help for disabled customers

Rival fast food outlet Wimpy recently announced that it was offering menus in Braille at all its restaurants.

In an advert, Wimpy buns were shown being baked with sesame seeds as Braille lettering.

Solomon said he was pleased that the industry was giving more attention to customers with special requirements.

He said the McDonalds chain would continue to put systems in place for all customers with disabilities.

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