Fast-food companies in China step up ‘contactless’ pickup, delivery as coronavirus rages

Fast-food companies in China step up ‘contactless’ pickup, delivery as coronavirus rages

With the coronavirus outbreak in China continuing to spread, McDonald’s Corp, Starbucks Corp and other fast-food companies are ramping up “contactless” pickup and delivery services to keep their workers and customers safe, Trend reports citing Reuters.

McDonald’s has implemented contactless pickup and delivery of Big Macs, fries and other menu items across the China as the outbreak has unfolded.

Customers order remotely – on mobile phones or by computers in store – and employees seal the meals in bags and put them in a special spot for pickup without human contact, McDonald’s says on its website.

For delivery orders, drivers drop McDonald’s packages at building entrances, disinfect their delivery bags and wash their hands more frequently. Drivers carry ID cards showing that they - and the people who made and packaged their food - had their body temperature scanned to prove they do not have a fever.

“While we look at how to further improve the process, the stepped-up preventive measures apply to all of our servicing channels,” McDonald’s said in a statement to Reuters.

The flu-like virus has infected more than 68,500 people globally and killed 1,665 as of Sunday, mostly in the central Chinese province of Hubei. Some major Chinese cities still resemble ghost towns as China struggles to get its economy back on track after a prolonged Lunar New Year holiday.

In early February, 83% of all stores on the Meituan-Dianping delivery platform - one of the largest in the country - were closed, according to Beijing-based data firm BigOne Lab.

Earlier this month, China’s National Health Commission recommended that deliveries limit contact.

Starbucks suggests customers order coffee via its app and then wait outside its cafés until they get a pick-up notice. Orders are placed on tables just inside café entrances.

If they do enter Starbucks locations, customers have their temperature taken at the door, as fever is one of the main symptoms of infection, and baristas wear masks.

For delivery, Starbucks said it regularly sterilizes containers and that its delivery people have their temperature taken daily. Indoors staff must wash hands every 30 minutes, and public areas are sterilized every 2 hours.

Starbucks delivery is provided by ele.me, owned by ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The measures illustrate how companies are quickly adapting in order to sell prepared food while keeping people safe.

Yum China Holdings Inc rolled out contactless delivery on Jan. 30, with contactless pickup coming two days later at its KFC and Pizza Hut locations, the company said.

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