Australian Food Chain Apologizes For Ban on Guide Dogs

Check out the last line in this article ftom the Townsville Bulletin for a big "DUH!" Cafe guide dog ban infuriates blind woman Elissa Doherty...

Joy  |  Aug 21st 2006


Restaurant Manager Apologizes For Denying Service

Check out the last line in this article ftom the Townsville Bulletin for a big “DUH!”

Cafe guide dog ban infuriates blind woman
Elissa Doherty

A RESTAURANT chain has apologised to a visually-impaired woman and offered her a free meal after a manager banned her from eating in the main area of the dining room because of her guide dog.

Caffe Primo has also committed to putting donation boxes for the Guide Dogs Association of South Australia and Northtern Territory in 15 SA stores after the incident, revealed in last week’s Sunday Mail.

But Marie Ryan, 52, has sent a complaint to the Equal Opportunity Commission, saying she is still angry that she and her family were told by the manager they could only sit in a concreted outer section on August 11.

She said her “qualm” was not with the restaurant, but treatment by the manager/proprietor of the Morphett Vale store, Frank Asrawe.

Caffe Primo operations head Mark Vettese last week rang Mrs Ryan to apologise for a “misunderstanding” and to inform her of steps they were taking to educate staff.

But she told the Sunday Mail she wanted a sincere apology directly from Mr Asrawe, as well as a $2000 donation by him to the Guide Dogs Association.

“I was discriminated against. I’ve had it happen too many times,” she said.

Mr Asrawe was not available to comment.

But Mr Vettese said Mr Asrawe would be prepared to apologise for a “misunderstanding”.

“He didn’t have a table available straight away (in the main area) and felt it would be more comfortable if they didn’t have the dog in the way of other people,” he said.

“The biggest thing was he didn’t have the knowledge that the dog just sits under the table and doesn’t get in the way.”