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Chick-fil-A, Other Fast Food Moving to To-Go and Drive Through Only

This is a great idea, and I hope all fast food restaurants adopt it. Chick-fil-A announced Sunday it is temporarily closing all dining room seating in an announcement on the company's website.

This is a great idea, and I hope all fast food restaurants adopt it. Chick-fil-A announced Sunday it is temporarily closing all dining room seating in an announcement on the company’s website.

Our highest priority continues to be the health and well-being of everyone who comes into our restaurants. As we navigate the evolving impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are temporarily closing our dining room seating to help limit person-to-person contact. Some of our restaurants may only offer service through our drive-thrus, while others may be able to offer takeout, delivery or mobile order options. Thanks for your patience. We know these are challenging times, but we’ll continue to do our best to serve you.

Social distancing is great, and America is ideally suited to this in that we’re a car culture. In places like China, this would culturally be a non-starter, and in Germany it would be considered sacrilege to bring food into your car to eat it. As Erick noted in his newsletter (you should subscribe, by the way), we are a selfish people, and that will help us to stay away from each other.

Chick-fil-A, however, isn’t the only chain doing away with dine-in, considering doing it soon, or modifying their service model.

  • Taco Bell is preparing to go take-out/drive-through only.
  • Starbucks is moving to “to go” only, so no more sitting in your local coffee joint with a laptop and a latte. Order your stuff and get out quick.
  • Zaxby’s is converting to single-use, disposable packaging for all orders, but not closing the dining room at this time.

We haven’t yet heard from McDonalds on the topic. Burger King is encouraging use of its mobile app, drive-through and delivery services such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub and Postmates. It has not announced any dining room closures on its website.

Wendy’s makes no mention of Coronavirus preparations on its corporate website. Dunkin’ (Donuts) has made no specific announcement about its facilities other than the standard COVID-19 notice, but most people are in and out in any case.

Be aware, however, that many 24-hour restaurants of all fast food companies are closing for certain hours to perform extra cleaning. If you get that 2AM hankering for a Big Mac, you might have to wait until the next day.

I honestly hope every single one of these chains will consider moving to drive-through or take-out only. It makes way too much sense if you have a drive-through window to just close the dining room, or if you don’t just open up for take-out. Or better yet, do like Sonic and bring the food out to the car.

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