CHICAGO—The coronavirus outbreak has closed many eateries where America’s 1.8 million truck drivers stop to dine and rest. Most drive-thrus remain open, but truckers can’t maneuver a diesel rig through a drive-thru. In response, McDonald’s has written an open letter to those road warriors and pledges to keep their stores open so they can secure food while moving needed supplies nationwide, reports Business Insider.
“As the world continues to address the quickly changing landscape, we are in this together with you, our valued friends in the trucking and transportation industry," Bill Garrett, McDonald's senior vice president of operations said in an open letter. "Thank you for everything you are doing to keep essential parts of our economy going. We wanted to personally reach out to you and let you know that, to support you in this effort, McDonald's restaurants are doing their best to remain open to provide hot meals to our customers and employees, as long as local, state, and federal governments continue to allow us to do so."
Last week, McDonald's closed seating areas in restaurants and encouraged franchisees to do the same and limited business via drive-thru, delivery and carry-out. But some locations have restricted business to delivery and drive-thru only, which can create issues. Truckers cannot maneuver rigs through drive-thru lanes and are banned from walking to order at the drive-thru, due to safety concerns.
At some locations, McDonald's now allows drivers to place curbside orders via mobile order and pay. They can pick up their order curbside or walk to a designated trucker curbside pick-up area.
While many foodservice operators are offering take-out only, few restaurants allow truck parking. Some truck drivers cook in their trucks, but, like all Americans, drivers are struggling to find well-stocked stores. In addition, some state-owned rest stops are closing. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas and Nebraska have announced the full or partial closures of their rest stops.
Meanwhile, commercial truck stops like Pilot Flying J remain open, but with dining rooms and lounges closed. As of March 19, more than 100 fast food locales like Subway and Wendy's in Pilot Flying J stops are closed overnight.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.