McDonald’s has started operational tests to explore what a potential reopening of its restaurant estate might look like.
It will assess how kitchen staff interact and how a store can operate in a scenario where restrictions on contact are in place.
The restaurant where these tests are taking place has not been named and will remain closed to the public.
Paul Pomroy, CEO of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, confirmed the tests will include examining social distancing measures for kitchen workers, PPE options and opening in a limited capacity.
He said: “In March, we took the decision to temporarily close our restaurants in the UK and Ireland for the safety of our people and customers.
“Recently, we began working through a potential and limited reopening. We have been listening to our employees and customers as well as engaging with government and trade bodies to help ensure we do this responsibly, when the time is right.”
McDonald’s operates 1,300 restaurants in the UK, the majority of which are franchised.
Mr Pomroy said that restarting the business was “not an easy task even when reopening in a limited capacity”.
“We have set ourselves some key criteria for reopening, all of which take time – first and foremost ensuring the wellbeing of our people and creating the right environment for them to return to work; secondly ensuring we have enough supply of fresh produce; and finally working in-step with government guidelines to ensure the safety of our customers.”
He added: “For now we remain closed, and will only reopen when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s wellbeing.”
Other chains closed when the lockdown was enforced are also starting to look at partial reopenings or delivery models to serve key workers.
Burger King, Nando’s, Pret and Five Guys have all reopened a small number of sites during the past week.