Vicky Wakelam, 43, had planned to treat her dad Colin Wakelam, 65, with a McDonald’s breakfast on Wednesday. She said she was instead left upset and embarrassed after staff said Colin couldn’t enter as he doesn’t have a smartphone.
Speaking to Gloucestershire Live since the experience, mum-to-five Vicky said: “Not everyone can afford a smartphone, or even use one.
“To be turned away just because he didn’t have a phone to scan himself in there, he was quite upset.
“It was quite embarrassing. We were holding up the queue and my dad was trying use his phone to scan this thing but it’s such an old phone, it wouldn’t work.”
Restaurants must currently ask all guests to use the government track and trace service, which can be done on the smartphone app. However, if guests are unable to use this method, the government advice is for establishments to check them in on their own devices or using pen and paper.
McDonald’s admits its branch in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, should have used its own tablet to help Colin.
And Vicky, who is a cleaner, remains angry with the service, which happened after her family had been through a difficult time.
She said: “I was taking him out to try to cheer him up and it was like a blow to him and it made him quite fed up. I just wanted to treat him.
“I was annoyed. I was really angry because I just wanted to treat my dad. My dad was fed up because he knew I was angry as well and he wanted to enjoy his meal.”
Vicky and Colin, who works as a night time Asda shelf stacker, ended up ordering a takeaway from the eatery and dining on a bench on the high street.
Vicky ordered herself a sausage and egg McMuffin meal and her dad a bacon and egg McMuffin meal, but said their experience was ruined.
“My elderly father had to sit on a bench and eat his breakfast. It was unpleasant,” she said.
“He enjoyed the meal but for the rest of the morning, it sort of put a dampener on things.”
A spokesman for McDonald’s said: “We are very sorry to hear about this customer’s experience and apologise for any upset this may have caused.
“This was a genuine mistake made by our restaurant team who incorrectly interpreted our policy and did not offer to check the customer in using the restaurant’s tablet.
“The restaurant team have been reminded of the policy and procedures we have in place to ensure this is not something that happens again.”