Last week, McDonald’s asked several of its franchisees to consider closing dining rooms to customers again as the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact across the United States. Now the third largest fast food restaurant chain in the United States, according to the most recent sales data, is also following suit.
Some Chick-fil-A franchisees in Alabama and North Carolina recently removed indoor dining privileges due to increasing COVID-19 cases as well as worker shortages, Quartz reported. However, the 2,500 affected locations will still offer take-out, drive-thru and delivery options. According to the beloved Chicken Chain, the decision to shut down the dining rooms at these sites is only “temporary.”
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Still, it begs the question: are we going to start seeing the big American fast food chains shifting to a take-out model, especially since the infectious disease variant shows no signs of slowing down? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some data suggests that the Delta variant may cause more severe disease than the old variants in unvaccinated people. Currently, the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker shows that only 52.6% of the total United States population is fully vaccinated.
Indeed, many chains have already developed plans to serve more mobile and steering wheel controls. For example, in 2020, Starbucks announced that it would close as many as 400 coffee shops across the country over the next year and a half and, instead, open more drive-thru locations. As of January 2021, this plan is still in effect. Burger King also announced last year that it will begin rolling out an all-new restaurant model called “Restaurant of Tomorrow” which includes a drive-through section, curbside delivery, and even food lockers for orders. to take away.
Taco Bell is also testing a new restaurant model called “Taco Bell Defy” in Brooklyn, Minnesota. The new store will have the necessary infrastructure to facilitate more take-out and delivery orders, such as setting up multiple lanes for drive-thru windows.
Only time will tell if more large fast food chains will pivot their current business models to those that cater primarily to take out. Until then, be sure to read This Unique Diet May Protect Your Immune System, New Study Finds To Help You Stay Healthy During This Flurry Of COVID-19 Cases. So, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest coverage in fast food and healthy eating!