McDonald’s, Starbucks, and other quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are now implementing contactless delivery across China in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, according to Reuters.
Yum China brands Pizza Hut and KFC began using the delivery method earlier this month, along with third-party services Ele.me and Meituan. Now, McDonald’s and Starbucks are using a similar approach in order to keep workers safe and help prevent further spreading of the deadly outbreak.
Customers are encouraged to order remotely via restaurants’ mobile apps and websites. Orders are then sealed into bags and placed in a designated pickup spot, such as at the entrance of a customer’s building. Delivery drivers are required to carry ID cards that show they had their temperature taken and do not have a fever.
Starbucks recommends customers order via the chain’s mobile app for pickup orders. Customers then wait outside a Starbucks location until they receive a pickup notice for their order, which will be placed on a table just inside the store. Any customer who enters a Starbucks must have their temperature taken at the door. Starbucks is also working with Ele.me for delivery orders.
Some form of contactless delivery existed prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. However, much of China’s population is currently limited in terms of their own mobility and unable to return to work. Roughly 760 million people in China live in neighborhoods or villages currently under some level of lockdown. At least 150 million of them — about 10 percent of the population — face restrictions around how they can leave their actual homes. That makes contactless delivery one of the only ways in which they can procure food, whether it’s restaurant meals or grocery items.
According to Allison Malmsten, a marketing strategy analyst at Daxue Consulting who spoke to Reuters, the outbreak “redefines contactless food delivery.”
As lockdown continues, we’ll doubtless see more restaurants, grocery stores, and delivery services ramping up contactless delivery in the coming days and weeks.