Coronavirus: McDonald’s expands restaurant sites to be reopened

A man walks past the McDonald's restaurant in Liverpool Street Station, with social distancing signs outsideImage copyright
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Fast-food giant McDonald’s has said it hopes to reopen all of its drive-through outlets in the UK and Ireland by early June.

Meanwhile, rival Burger King UK will offer delivery or drive-through service from 350 restaurants by 30 June.

The move comes as the government released new coronavirus guidance encouraging people to return to work if safe.

The fast food chains say service will be slower due to safety precautions.

McDonald’s will start by offering delivery only from 15 restaurants from Wednesday, and re-opening 30 drive-throughs from next week.

For this week, restaurants and their car parks remain closed, so customers have to order using the Uber Eats app.

The chain will have a limited menu with a maximum spend of £25 per order or per car, and contactless payments are encouraged.

McDonald’s also warned customers that service “will not be as quick as you might be used to”.

The restaurant chain told the BBC it has placed a £25 cap on orders because of social distancing: “During our pilot phases while we test our new safety procedures, we will temporarily limit order sizes to allow us to meet customer demand as we will operate with fewer employees in our kitchens to enable social distancing.”

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Image caption

A sign hung on the door of a church in Bletchley shows some people have missed being able to buy fast food

Burger King UK, meanwhile, has been reopening its outlets in phases since 16 April, and says it will have reopened 350 restaurants – three-quarters of its outlets – by the end of June.

Like McDonald’s, the burger chain is serving a limited menu. Customers have to order via food delivery mobile apps Just Eat and Deliveroo, even when visiting drive-through restaurants.

More safety measures

To enable its staff to work safely, McDonald’s has introduced several new measures in its restaurants:

  • Having fewer people in the kitchen and service areas, serving a reduced menu over reduced hours
  • Checking worker temperatures on arrival using contactless thermometers
  • Installing perspex screens in key locations in the kitchen and service areas
  • Providing staff with protective equipment such as gloves and face masks
  • Providing additional training on cleanliness practices, including increased frequency of hand washing and extra sanitising of touch points around the restaurant

Burger King UK has also put in place several safety procedures after detailed testing of the measures, including providing masks and gloves for staff, introducing stringent cleaning measures, and training staff in how to run kitchens hygienically while observing social distancing measures.

Food chains are slowly opening more outlets. In early May, KFC said it would reopen 80 more restaurants for deliveries, after already opening 20 sites.


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