Retail

McDonald's Readies For Reopening

McDonald's

McDonald’s Corp. has provided its restaurant owners with a 59-page dine-in reopening guide that requires everything from cleaning bathrooms every half-hour to disinfecting kiosks after every order.

The Wall Street Journal, which saw the guide, reported that reopening the fast food chain’s dining rooms with the new mandates raises questions about their cost for franchisees while concerns about the pandemic remain.

To ease COVID-19 concerns, the fast-food chain recommends dozens of changes before franchisees switch from takeout and drive-thru only to dining room service.

Staff must wear masks and gloves, and restaurants must make face shields available for customers in states requiring them, the guide said.

“All restaurants must implement these standards, in addition to state and local laws, before reopening a dining room,” Joseph Erlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, said Wednesday (May 13) in a statement.

Among the recommendations contained in the booklet for the 14,000 restaurants are closing public soda fountains, installing foot-pulls to allow customers to open bathroom doors without using their hands, $310 automatic towel dispensers and $718 touchless sinks, WSJ reported.

In addition, workers are expected to use a timer to remind themselves to wipe surfaces including door handles, trash lids, counters and credit card machines every half hour, according to the guide. They should clean bathrooms every 30 minutes, and post a schedule of completed cleanings.

McDonald’s said it is building on processes already in place such as wellness checks, social distancing floor stickers, protective barriers at counters, masks and gloves for employees, according to the press release.

“We have a responsibility to get this right, and sometimes doing the right thing takes time,” a company spokesman told the WSJ Wednesday.

The news outlet reported McDonald’s and most other fast-food chains have fared better than sit-down restaurants during the crisis because much of their sales are done at drive-thrus.

So far, about two dozen states have begun to allow restaurants to reopen dining rooms, though most have mandated occupancy restrictions to half or less.

A reported in this space, McDonald’s posted a 3.4 drop in sales for the first quarter as its dining rooms closed and the chain relied on delivery and takeout orders amid COVID-19 restrictions.

In March, comparable sales dropped 22 percent globally and 13.4 percent in the U.S., as most of its stores shuttered its dining rooms.

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