With Coronavirus news changing daily, little by little, our favorite bars, cafes, and mom-and-pop restaurants are all closing down, leaving us with the option of fist-fighting grocery shoppers for a pack of chicken, or taking our chances on a fast food restaurant.
A good amount of the larger quick-service restaurants have the luxury of staying open in this time of crisis, and a lot are taking more precautions than usual.
With the widespread uneasiness, it's understandable to feel that going anywhere is a risk. Our favorite restaurants know this, and are doing their best to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
We can confirm that restaurants such as McDonald's, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Subway, and Starbucks have all vowed to increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitation.
Each restaurant's statement is a little different, but they all communicate some form of:
"We are closely monitoring and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), to ensure we are doing our part to keep you, our staff, and our communities safe."
If you have gone to any fast food spot, there's a good chance the employees are sporting latex gloves for your protection and theirs. Honestly, even that little wrinkle helps put your mind at ease.
Depending on your area, all of these restaurants also deliver to some capacity, with some offering pick-up options while dining rooms closures have become standard protocol. And of course, the drive-thrus are still open, allowing them align with the CDC's advisement of keeping groups of people to 10 or less.
Chick-Fil-A has a practice of handing out physical menus to customers at the Drive-Thru, but that has been eliminated to keep interactions at a minimum.
KFC, Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and Del Taco are not only delivering, but as of now, those deliveries are free. Blaze Pizza's delivery is free through Postmates and Door Dash through March 22.
Del Taco's delivery is free through Postmates with the code: DelTacoNow.
Chipotle's free delivery will run until March 31 using their fancy new Delivery Kitchen that includes a tamper-proof seal on your food and the ability to watch your driver's route.
Now, KFC's delivery is going above and beyond, being available until April 26. The order minimum is $12 and can be ordered through their site or Grubhub.
While most restaurant statements have mentioned employee safety being a priority, Starbucks really made sure to reiterate that they're putting their "partners" AKA employees, first. Starbucks said their employees, "...Never have to choose between work and taking care of themselves." Which aside from limiting social interactions, also means that if partners feel ill, they can take time off, and if that means that they have to relocate healthy employees or even temporary close down a store, that is what they'll do.
Starbucks has also extended their "Catastrophe Pay" program, which is usually offered to partners during hurricanes and/or flooding. Partners will be given up to 14 days pay if affected by COVID-19. That time is in addition to possible sick pay, vacation pay or PTO that is normally offered.
In accordance with social distancing guidance from the CDC and public health authorities, we are temporarily closing stores in some locations, and moving the majority of our company-operated stores to a "to go" model across the U.S. and Canada. https://t.co/U5M01tcwDL pic.twitter.com/9Y9AD50pPw— Starbucks News (@StarbucksNews) March 15, 2020
So there are extreme measures that fast food restaurants are taking, and rightfully so. Any time you step out of your door, there's risk, but it's good to see that measures are taken to try and keep consumers and employees safe.
But above all, remember to have compassion toward any and all employees. While some Americans can work from home or have the luxury of taking time off to stay home in these times, restaurant employees are helping keep essential food businesses running.