Major fast-food chains in the United States have announced the closure of in-store dining in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.
McDonald’s closed seating areas, including self-service beverage areas, kiosks, and play-places across all company-run restaurants, its counter service peers such as Chick-fil-A, Inspire Brands and Starbucks have made similar moves with drive-thru, walk-in take out, and delivery remaining active.
McDonald’s said its decision was guided by expert local and national health authority guidance. Additionally, it’s complying with local and state restaurant restrictions, where applicable.
Large brands like McDonald’s see upward of 70 percent of its business via drive-thru already so its decision to close instore dining is obviously an easier one and less of a concern than what has befallen full-service and fine-dining restaurants in New York City which have been forced to close.
Dunkin’ US decided its restaurants will have reduced hours and be limited to drive-thru and/or carry-out-only service until further notice. All seating and tables have been removed from dining and patio areas and the chain has increased standards on the frequency of handwashing and cleaning procedures.
Effective immediately, Wendy’s US implemented a restricted service policy across all corporate restaurants in areas that have declared a national emergency due to coronavirus. Its company-run locations will remain open for takeout, pickup, drive-thru and delivery where applicable. All orders placed in the dining room at the counter will be bagged for takeout.
Wendy’s New Zealand told Restaurant & Café that it was considering all options of how it could continue to serve food to its customers while minimising direct contact between staff and customers, this would include following the US and temporarily shutting dining rooms with drive-thru and Uber Eats delivery where it can.
Wendy’s said it would also be encouraging people to use the Wendy’s App for ordering and payment to further reduce contact.
The burger chain has retrained all staff on food safety and handwashing and has implemented more stringent cleaning of high touch areas such as door handles, pin pads, chairs and tables. The company has also identified staff that are currently overseas or returning from overseas so it can ensure all self-isolation regulations are followed.
Wendy’s New Zealand has promised the same fresh quality food and service but maybe with a slightly longer line at the drive-thru.
With food delivery on the rise, Uber Eats in the US announced several measures to assist restaurants amid the financial fallout from coronavirus. The delivery service said it would temporarily stop delivery fees for independent restaurants across the US and Canada and will launch a marketing campaign to promote delivery.
In addition, to ensure consistent cash flow for restaurants, the company is swapping its weekly billing cycle to a daily pay-out, it will also be pledging 300,000 free meals to first responders and healthcare workers in the US and Canada.
There is no word yet whether the same policies will be implemented by Uber Eats in New Zealand but particularly the waiver of delivery fees for independent restaurants could be an enormous help to eateries here who use the third-party delivery service.
So far it seems fast-food is surviving the tumult that has come with the spread of COVID-19.