McDonald’s will open drive-thru lanes at 30 restaurants from next Wednesday – but warned that service will not be as quick as customers are used to because of social distancing in kitchens.
The company said its restaurants would “look different” when they return, with screens at drive thru windows and employees wearing protective equipment.
Over the last two months, the company has spent time overhauling its operational procedures to enable its teams to return to work safely, including remodelling its kitchen setup.
There will be fewer people in the kitchen and service areas, meaning the company will initially only serve a limited menu over reduced hours.
Perspex screens will be installed, while protective equipment, including gloves, will be worn by staff, although they won’t be the same as the type required by healthcare professionals.
Contactless thermometers will be used to carry out temperature checks when employees arrive at work, and additional training on cleanliness practices will be given, including increased frequency of handwashing and extra sanitising of touch points around the restaurant.
15 restaurants in the South East of England are back open for delivery from today, but next week’s drive-thru reopening is the most significant development in terms of its restaurant estate coming back on line again.
The chain said it will apply a £25 order cap as it adjusts to smaller teams and social distancing in its kitchens.
“When your local drive-thru does reopen, it will be different,” said UK CEO Paul Pomroy in a note to customers. “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.”
Mr Pomroy said McDonald’s aims to reopen all its UK drive-thru lanes by early June. However, it will only reopen at a pace that enables staff to work safely.
“As we get accustomed to the new processes and procedures, we will look to reopen more restaurants, for longer hours and reintroduce more menu items. But only when I am confident we can do so whilst maintaining the new procedures we have introduced for the protection of our people,” he said.