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Fast food fans have been buoyed by news that burger chain McDonald’s is testing reopening a branch this week.
The bad news for hungry folk is that the branch will only open for “operational tests” and remain closed to customers.
The chain said: “Recently, we began working through a potential and limited reopening.”
But it refused to put a date on when customers would be able to pick up a Happy Meal again.
“Restarting our business is not an easy task, even when reopening in a limited capacity,” said Paul Pomroy, McDonald’s UK and Ireland chief executive.
“For now we remain closed, and will only reopen when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s well-being.”
Environment Responsible reopening
Rumours began circulating that the chain would soon be serving up its popular Big Mac meals last week after the Irish Farmers Journal reported that some branches would reopen in May.
The restaurant group says it is keen to reopen branches as soon as it can, but it won’t rush into doing so.
“We have been listening to our employees and customers as well as engaging with government and trade bodies to help ensure we do this responsibly, when the time is right,” said Mr Pomroy.
He said McDonald’s had set itself some key criteria for reopening, all of which take time.
These include ensuring the well-being of workers and creating the right environment for them to return to work.
It also needs to ensure it has enough supply of fresh produce.
Finally, it is working in step with government guidelines to ensure the safety of customers.
The behind-closed-doors test which starts this week will involve “exploring social distancing measures for our crew, PPE options and opening in a limited capacity,” the company said.
Environment Delivery and takeaway
McDonald’s shut all its branches last month in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
But it has seen rivals such as Burger King, KFC and Pret A Manger reopening some sites for delivery and takeaway over the past week.
Yesterday Greggs became the latest fast food retailer to announce it is reopening some of its outlets despite the coronavirus lockdown.
The bakery chain, which has more than 2,050 shops, said it would open 20 of them in the Newcastle area from Monday 4 May as part of a “controlled trial”, with more to follow.
Greggs boss Roger Whiteside said the trial, set to last at least two weeks, would involve a limited product range and shorter trading hours.
He hopes to have all stores open again by 1 July, when the government’s job retention scheme is due to end, although the timing could change, depending on future government announcements.
Meanwhile Nando’s has reopened six of its UK restaurants for delivery. The peri-peri chicken chain has reopened the kitchens of four restaurants in London and two in Manchester.
However visitors won’t be welcome – the branches will only offer a takeaway service through Deliveroo.
Nando’s said: “The menu will be reduced to help the team maintain social distance in the kitchen and food prep areas.
“Each Nando’s restaurant has been working under Public Health England guidelines for the past week on top of their existing health and safety procedures.
“Every member of the team has been washing their hands more frequently while maintaining social distance during shifts.” The company said it is the “first phase” of its reopening plans but more restaurants could follow suit,
And Wagamama fans in some parts of London will from Thursday be able to have the food delivered by Deliveroo. The pan-Asian restaurant chain is reopening its kitchens at Peckham and Hackney. Kitchens in Leeds will reopen shortly, Wagamama said.
Emma Woods, chief executive of Wagamama, said: “We have taken medical advice on how we keep our teams safe in a kitchen environment from a doctor who advises on health and safety in challenging operating environments, including previous experience in the cruise industry. This will be very much a test-and-learn approach for the business.”