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.

  • DieSeL - 2012-01-16 12:43

    Sheesh the press! The way they make it out to sound. They were CHASED out? then the article goes on to say they were asked to move outside... Manipulate words to generate interest...

      Mike - 2012-01-16 13:24

      Irrespective of the press' wording in their report, Fact is that they were asked to leave due to the presence of the guide dog. Now, anyone, even with diminished intelligence, should have observed the situation for what it was and acted accordingly. I cannot believe that such stupid people are even employed in SA - or anywhere on the planet for that matter. McD, take a bow for fostering another Dawin awardee.

      Gungets - 2012-01-16 13:37

      I got a text early in January. Said something like "If you passed Matric with a University or Tech pass, congratulations. If not, please, no gerkin on my burger".

  • mariuskowie - 2012-01-16 12:45

    Forget it, McDonalds. You will never see me as a customer again. This is disgusting how you are trying to turn a very negative event into a publicity stunt.

      TheWatcher - 2012-01-16 13:50

      Na its just some idiot employee trying to act big stuff and screwing up big time. McDonalds is just doing some damage control.

      TheWatcher - 2012-01-16 13:51

      although I think they should have done more.

      Jay - 2012-01-16 13:56

      You know your attitude stinks, when the ANC do something wrong we are quick to jump down their throats about the issues and why have they not done something to rectify it. Now i don't eat Mickey D's if i can help it but they have admitted to the problem and are trying to make things right. Well Done!! It appears that there are some people in this world that just like to complain. This is a story with a happy ending.

      Silvana - 2012-01-16 14:48

      @Rebel. I'm with you the whole way. I would still like to know where the manager was at the time and what action was taken to prevent it from happening again. His feeble apology just didn't cut it with me. Another thing is that it has taken them almost a month to come up with this a*se-creeping "white-wash" campaign.

      Rod - 2012-01-16 17:18

      What would you like to see them do, Put the staff member in front of a firing squad. Yes the error was a big one but we should move on now

  • Sunett - 2012-01-16 12:48

    Well done, McD's. Rather late than never. A shame that something like this had to happen to bring the problem to their attention, but at least they are making an effort to right the wrong.

      Gungets - 2012-01-16 13:10

      Agree. And if they ever decide to serve food in McDonalds I might even visit one of their outlets. I think it will be a cold day in hell but ...

  • piet.oliemans - 2012-01-16 12:59

    It's called closing the stable door after the horse has bolted! Too late, mate! Haven't gone there for ages due to crappy food, this has stiffened my resolve NEVER to go there again.

      George - 2012-01-16 13:52

      wont ever be turning a blind eye to there service again

  • Izaan - 2012-01-16 13:01

    sjoe. one whole puppy. Wowzers. Hey big spenders! :|

      Gerhard - 2012-01-16 13:09

      And then they will insist they call the dog Ronald and then use it in upcoming commercials. So their "investment" will pay for itself in no time.

      frans.visserdsb - 2012-01-16 13:13

      yeah... as a gesture of goodwill it is really insignificant, and as an exercise in damage control it is laughable... bought the family lunch and sponsored a puppy... Strange that Nandos havent brought something out on this. Good on you Wimpy for the Braille buns...

      TheWatcher - 2012-01-16 13:51

      agreed. They should have done more.

      SergeD69 - 2012-01-16 14:10

      Still say McDonalds should be boycotted!!! This is a PR stunt!!! How much have they donated to the SA Guide Dog Association? Are they embarrassed to say how much?

      Jay - 2012-01-16 14:11

      Do you lot have any idea how much it costs to train a seeing eye dog???? Its alot of money. At least they have made a donation and are training a new dog. Also the incident prompted Wimpy to bring out braille menus. So a very isolated incident will end up in multiple positives.

      mariuskowie - 2012-01-16 14:54

      @ Jay. Do you work for McD's?

      Walter - 2012-01-16 17:51

      Yip, also see it as plain 'damage control', sponsoring ONE puppy, now THAT's a great expense! What about sponsoring 50 or so? THAT would impress me. As you know, McDonald's South Africa is owned by anti-apartheid activist Cyril Ramaphosa... But let's give McDonald's South Africa the benefit of the doubt, maybe their 'improvements' should be tested in say three months time? Shame for Ms. Gouws that the incident did not happen in the US, she could have sued for millions...

  • Hermann - 2012-01-16 13:06


      Positiewe - 2012-01-16 13:28

      Jeesh boet. Get some sleep ;-)

  • Laurie - 2012-01-16 13:17

    Well done McDonalds. Keep the burgers flowing. I trust you also compensated the blind lay for the inconvenience you caused her?

  • conway.reynolds - 2012-01-16 13:27

    This is not surprising. My wife was verbally abused and physically pushed out of Macdonalds Pinetown when she was 8 months pregnanr. We took it up with Head Office who said they would look into it. As ususal the camera was not working at the tme and therefore NOTHING was done. So nothing surprises me from this group

      peckhg - 2012-01-16 13:44

      I for one would like to know more about this incident. As a regular customer having kids nothing like this has ever happened - but it seems their policies have changed if they allowed this to happen - or at least didn't investigate it properly.

  • Zion - 2012-01-16 13:37

    Good thing we do not have a mac donalds in Welkom. The other fast food outlets are doing well for themselves. My elder brother stays in the Worcester institute for the blind and Pappie don't even try to touch the dog. You could lose a few fingers in the process.

  • Gerhard - 2012-01-16 13:41

    Wimpy - 1. McDonalds - 0.

      Justin - 2012-01-16 14:16

      Eish, wait for Nando's to get hold of this one. McD should have let sleeping dogs lie...

      aardvarkie - 2012-01-16 15:26

      Hahaha! Too true Justin!

  • Pumlani - 2012-01-16 15:56

    The worst PR excercise ever. Seriously???? they took her too lunch? How cheap can you their apology was R35 or so (oh wait, she probably super-sized so add a whole R2 to that total). Its a disgrace....

  • Cindy Mendes - 2012-01-17 01:27

    McDonalds sucks every time we eat there we get funny things in our burgers twice we've found cardboard in the 'meat' once we had hair and another time we had soap... For all I care they can just close them down!!!

  • andreprinsloo - 2012-01-17 18:23

    After that they only willing to train ONE puppy?

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