As of March 30, 2020, there are already approximately 160,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US, with roughly 3,000 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that COVID-19 is spreading easily and sustainably in affected areas, a phenomenon known as ‘community spreading.’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has shared his insights on why the situation will get worse. With that in mind, as many businesses are highly dependent on a physical consumer base, restaurants need to step up efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Here’s how some fast food restaurants are doing this.
McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger announced that the fast food giant has ramped up its sanitation procedures. On top of regular deep-cleaning procedures, McDonald’s will increase deep-cleaning frequencies at high touch areas. These include ordering kiosks, pick-up counters, and restrooms. McDelivery procedures will also be enhanced to ensure that packaging remains sterile before food is put into it. In terms of the well-being of hourly workers, Erlinger said that McDonald’s USA would support employees in staying home if they are sick. The chain has announced that corporate-owned restaurant employees would be provided up to 14 days of paid sick leave should they need to be quarantined.
The coffee franchise giant said that workers who suspect that they were exposed to the virus are eligible for 14 days of catastrophe pay. This is on top of other benefits like sick pay, vacation pay, and personal time off. In terms of improving hygiene, Starbucks has increased cleaning and sanitization for all company-operated stores and paused the use of personal cups. In terms of social distancing, the brand put in place a temporary nationwide “to go” model in which it will close down sitting in all its cafe and patio areas. Locations in “high-social gathering locations” will also be closed.
According to Chick-fil-A’s President Tim Tassopoulos, disinfecting procedures have been ramped up. The brand initially only implemented some operational changes including a closure of playgrounds, serving all meals in carry-out packing and halting the provision of a printed menu at drive-thrus. However, most recently, Chick-fil-A announced a temporary closure of dining room seating. Some of the restaurants will only offer services via drive-thrus or takeout, delivery, and mobile order.
Taco Bell has announced that it is considering closing dining rooms in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The fast food chain said that it is in the midst of changing its operations to only serve customers via drive-thrus and delivery. This is done of course to increase social distancing efforts. In order to support its employees in these difficult times, Taco Bell’s CEO Mark King said that employees who are required to stay at home or those working at a restaurant that needs to be closed will all be paid.
Shake Shack’s CEO Randy Garutti said that the burger chain is stepping up its sanitization efforts. Sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer stations would be placed in stores, and all condiments and utensils will be distributed by its employees. All mobile and to-go orders will also be placed in a new, fully sealed bag. In terms of employee well-being, all members of the Shake Shack team are offered sick pay. Garutti has hinted that the brand will continue to adapt to the situation as it progresses, indicating that we may see certain branches “adjusting hours or modifying our operations.”
Nigel is not just a marketer at Workstream, he is also a graduate of Psychology and Marketing of Singapore Management University. He has multiple experiences in various areas of marketing - advertising, email marketing, and content writing. Fun fact, prior to joining Workstream, he took a semester off school to intern at SAP in Brazil.