McDonald's, Starbucks halt dine-in service in U.S. to enforce social distancing

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp and Starbucks Corp have decided to close dine-in areas at their U.S. restaurants and shifted to take-away and delivery services to enforce social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The world's largest burger chain said on Monday it would also shut self-service beverage bars and kiosks, as well as its kids area, or PlayPlaces, at the company-owned restaurants

Reuters March 17, 2020 05:05:22 IST
McDonald's, Starbucks halt dine-in service in U.S. to enforce social distancing

McDonalds Starbucks halt dinein service in US to enforce social distancing

(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp and Starbucks Corp have decided to close dine-in areas at their U.S. restaurants and shifted to take-away and delivery services to enforce social distancing in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The world's largest burger chain said on Monday it would also shut self-service beverage bars and kiosks, as well as its kids area, or PlayPlaces, at the company-owned restaurants.

McDonald's social distancing guidelines were also backed by its franchisees, which accounted for 95% of its total restaurants.

Starbucks, the world's largest coffee chain, said on Sunday it would also close stores for at least two weeks in communities with high numbers of coronavirus cases, as well as malls and university campuses, and change to a "to go" model in the United States and Canada stores.

The unprecedented move comes as authorities in New York, Los Angeles and other global cities shut down bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas to combat the pandemic.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday he was ordering restaurants, bars and cafes to sell food only on a take-out or delivery basis.

Pubs, fine dining and fast-casual restaurants have also shut temporarily and some have also scaled down their menus to offer delivery options at relatively low prices.

Burger chain Shake Shack Inc said on Monday it would temporarily shift to a take-out model in all its U.S. company-owned restaurants and withdrew its 2020 forecasts, citing "unprecedented market conditions."

Canada's coffee and breakfast chain Tim Hortons, owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc , has decided to close dining-room seating in most locations from Tuesday to focus on take-out, drive-thru and delivery service.

The coronavirus outbreak has killed 60 people and infected over 3,600 in the United States. Globally, the virus has infected over 169,000 people and killed more than 6,500.

"The situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary," said Rossann Williams, president of Starbucks' U.S. company-operated and Canada businesses.

The company had warned of a hit to second quarter from the outbreak in China as same-store sales there halved.

Starbucks had earlier stopped accepting reusable cups and thermos flasks from customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa after announcing a similar policy in the United States.

Shares of McDonald's, Shake Shack and Starbucks closed down about 16%, while U.S.-listed shares of Restaurant Brands slumped 22% in broader market losses.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam and Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Arun Koyyur)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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