McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A, and several other major restaurant chains have suspended dine-in service for the foreseeable future across all of their brands. The moves come as cities and states across the country are mandating restaurant closures to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Starbucks was one of the first, announcing over the weekend it will “temporarily change” to a to-go-only model in all U.S. and Canada stores. The news was quickly followed by Atlanta-based chain Chick-fil-A saying it will completely shutter some locations while the bulk of its stores will shift to an off-premises-only model.
More have made similar moves in a very short time:
McDonald’s announced Monday that “company-owned restaurants will close seating areas, including the use of self-service beverage bars and kiosks,” and that the company will shift those stores to drive-thru, takeout, and delivery formats. The chain said it expects its franchise operators to do the same very soon.
Taco Bell has closed dining rooms at all company-owned locations. In a letter, company CEO Mark King said the chain is “equipping our restaurants to serve our guests via drive-thru and delivery only where necessary.”
Shake Shack has closed down dining rooms at all of its corporate-owned stores. Customers can still place orders at the restaurant as well as through the usual delivery channels.
Effective today, chicken-centric QSR Zaxby’s will limit service to drive-thru only. The brand is encouraging customers to use its online ordering feature to further increase social distancing and limit the amount of person-to-person contact needed when picking up food.
Today, Chipotle announced that all of its 2,600 restaurants will suspend dine-in service and will focus on takeout and delivery.
There are others: Dunkin’, Panda Express, Arby’s Sonic . . .
I could go on, but the reality is that more states will almost certainly mandate restaurant closures, and those moves will encompass all restaurants, from mom-and-pop stores to QSRs to massive chain brands like The Cheesecake Factory.
Most of these brands will offer some form of off-premises ordering to keep business going for the foreseeable future.