Taco Bell, McDonald’s Share Safety Plans

The fast food chains outline enhanced sanitation efforts, reopening procedures for their restaurants.

May 18, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Taco Bell wants to be “the safest place to eat” and “the safest place to work,” Mike Grams, Taco Bell’s president and global chief operating officer, told QSR Magazine. Rival McDonald’s is asking restaurant owners in the U.S to commit to cleanning bathrooms every half-hour and digital kiosks after each order before reopening their dining rooms, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In mid-March, Taco Bell voluntarily closed dining rooms and launched a COVID-19 page on its website to update customers and team members. Last month, the company introduced its “7 Enhanced Safety Steps” which employees began implementing at restaurants across the U.S. last week. To ease customer concerns over orders, Grams said that “team members in this role will be trained to signal to the customer that we are preparing their order properly and ultimately, safely.”

For both takeout and drive-thru orders, Taco Bell is using contactless payment and sealing food orders, and team members are wearing gloves and face masks.

Although Taco Bell foresees delivery, mobile orders and contactless payments to continue after the crisis, the fast food chain is preparing restaurants to be “the safest place to eat,” Grams said. “At a time when people need that comfort and familiarity, our drive-thrus will be open to provide the food that our fans know and love, in the safest way possible. We know that we have a role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and are doing everything we can to help end this global crisis,” he told QSR Magazine.

Taco Bell’s “7 Enhanced Safety Steps” include: 

  1. Integration of contactless service and payment
  2. Use of gloves and masks for all team members
  3. Sealing every order upon completion
  4. Following industry-leading sanitization standards (including specific standards for combating COVID-19)
  5. Dedicated cleaning roles (to monitor and clean high-touch points throughout the day)
  6. Extra sanitation options for customers, including sanitizing stations both indoors and outdoors.
  7. Employee temperature checks at the beginning of each shift and before interacting with food and equipment.

McDonald’s is asking franchisees to enforce social distancing and recommends closing its public cold dispensed beverage fountains or staff them. In a 59-page dine-in reopening guide, the fast-food giant also advises foot-pulls for bathroom doors, touchless sinks and automated towel dispensers.  What’s more, McDonald’s says team members need to wear masks and gloves—and make face shields available for customers in jurisdictions requiring them.

McDonald’s plans a slow reopening of its dining rooms in consultation with local officials.

“We have a responsibility to get this right, and sometimes doing the right thing takes time,” a company spokesman told the Journal.