McDonald's trial update: is the chain ready for the next step?
The fast food giant has finished its initial trial
Last week, we learnt that McDonald's was trialling reopening behind closed doors. Today, a very select few McDonald's restaurants are opening for delivery through third party delivery services. Only 15 pilot restaurants, all of which are in the South East of England, are opening for this first phase, indicating that these few outlets are still part of a long process of trial and caution.
To ensure the reduced staff that will be operating each restaurant are not overwhelmed, a £25 cap has been placed on all orders. The brand say this is to ensure staff can maintain social distancing in the kitchens.
In a press release, Paul Pomroy, McDonald's UK CEO stated, "I want to reiterate the restaurants, Drive Thrus and their car parks remain closed, we will only be serving food via Uber Eats this week."
Pomroy addressed those who want faster and broader reopening of services firmly, stating, "The wellbeing of our employees, suppliers and delivery partners’ couriers is my top priority and we will only extend our plans at a pace that enables us to create a safe working environment for our teams."
The change has come about since government guidance was updated to allow for takeaways and deliveries. This, according to Pomroy, is the beginning of a phased reopening.
He said, "Next week we will begin the next phase of reopening a further 30 pilot restaurants in the UK and Ireland, offering service through the Drive Thru lane from Wednesday 20th May. Moving in step with government guidelines, we plan to reopen all our Drive Thrus by early June. We will keep the restaurant locator on our website updated as our Drive Thrus reopen over the coming weeks."
Once the Drive-thrus do open up, the £25 cap will remain in place; this is to encourage contactless payments which are, of course, far more hygenic.
To open safely, McDonald's has put in place five key changes:
• Fewer people in the kitchen and service areas, serving a reduced menu over reduced hours
• The use of contactless thermometers, with temperatures checked on arrival at work
• Perspex screens in key locations in the kitchen and service areas
• Protective equipment for staff including gloves and face coverings
• And additional training on cleanliness practices
Pomroy made it clear that reopened McDonald's restaurants will feel different. He said, "Our service will not be as quick as you might be used to, as we adjust to smaller teams and social distancing in our kitchens. We expect there will be some queues for some of our busier sites and our restaurants will look different, with Perspex screens at our Drive Thru windows and employees wearing protective equipment.
"I ask that you continue to be supportive of and patient with our restaurant teams as we slowly and safely return. We are asking all of our employees to adapt to how our restaurants now work, and will only reopen at a pace that enables them to work safely."
It seems clear that as the fast food brand finds its feet in the post-pandemic world, it will eventually return to our towns and cities. For now, you can find out about any updates on the company's website or social media channels.