The world’s biggest restaurant chains have reacted to the spread of coronavirus throughout the world.
Starbucks Corp. has announced that it will eliminate seating in all its company-operated locations in the US and Canada and shift to an entirely to-go model. It is the first major chain to take this step to control in-store dining amid the ongoing coronavirus situation.
The company said it would reduce hours or close stores in communities with high clusters of Covid-19 cases and temporarily close stores in high social gathering areas such as shopping centres and university campuses.
The Seattle-based coffee giant said it would eliminate seating in its cafe and patio areas but would continue to take orders at its counters as well as via drive-thrus, mobile-order and delivery.
The decision comes at the same time as many other restaurants increase a shift toward takeout and delivery.
McDonald’s has started conducting non-contact food order pick up at some of its locations. Meals are placed on counters with order numbers rather than being handed directly to customers. Some locations have closed dining rooms altogether, serving customers through the drive-thru window only.
Domino’s Pizza is implementing contactless delivery throughout the US. “We know many people would like to choose contactless delivery right now and we want customers to know we’re here to deliver,” said CEO Ritch Allison.
Here in New Zealand Domino’s has also implemented zero contact delivery. A statement on Domino’s website reads: For your peace of mind when you choose Zero Contact Delivery, the Delivery Expert will place your order in front of your door before moving back to a safe distance. They will then contact you by phone to let you know they have arrived and wait to ensure you have collected your order.
Uber released information to its New Zealand customers on what precautions the company is taking. The company has advised customers to write a note in the Uber Eats app to ask for food delivery to be left at the door. Uber also said it is partnering with manufacturers and distributors of disinfectants to make sure it can provide its drivers with appropriate cleaning products.
“The safety and well-being of everyone who uses Uber is always our priority. We are actively monitoring the coronavirus situation and are taking steps to help keep our communities safe,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in the statement sent to customers.
Social distancing is part of the advice released by the government and has seen the cancellation or postponement of many large, public events. Time will reveal how many more restaurants take the delivery-only and contactless approach here in New Zealand.