Three of the UK’s busy restaurant chains have begun limited reopening of some of their outlets for deliveries with staff wearing masks and gloves and stringent cleaning and social distancing measures in place amid the ongoing lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Burger King and KFC have opened a number of their outlets to deliver orders and French takeaway Pret a Manger is operating on a limited delivery and takeaway basis this week.
Under the UK government guidelines, all restaurants and pubs are expected to remain close but are allowed to prepare food for collection or delivery.
Most restaurant chains had decided to close down when the lockdown initially came in force on March 23 but have now started planning some openings, with stringent cleaning and social distancing measures in place.
“We hope that reopening these restaurants for delivery services goes some way to lifting our customers” spirits in these difficult times,” said Katie Evans of Burger King UK, which will be offering a limited menu from four of its restaurants – two in Bristol, one in Coventry and one in Swindon.
It said it would also be giving away 1,000 meals a week to the NHS staff on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fightback.
KFC said it has reopened 11 restaurants — in Aldershot, Birmingham, Glasgow, Ipswich, London, Manchester, Portsmouth, Stockport and Tamworth — for delivery only, with a limited menu.
The fast food chain said it has donated thousands of meals from all its open restaurants to those on the frontline, including the NHS and key workers, in partnership with the start-up, Deliveroo, and will continue that trend.
“We have spent the time since closure developing new processes to ensure we can reopen carefully and responsibly, which we”ve now started to do. We also saw the impact the situation is having on those who may not be able to easily get to the supermarkets, like key workers. There”s a need for affordable, accessible food and we wanted to do our part,” a KFC spokesperson said.
Pret a Manger will put in place a policy of half-price meals for NHS workers as it reopens 10 shop kitchens near London hospitals from Thursday.
“This allows us to also get our supply chain up and running to donate food to homeless charities, so we will be donating 7,000 additional meals per week to our homeless charity partners,” the chain said in a statement.
Pret CEO Pano Christou wrote in a blog post that NHS workers and hospitals want to be able to get “freshly made food nearby”.
“We are incredibly grateful that 160 team members have volunteered to help reopen 10 shops in London, located close to hospitals,” he said.
Overall, takeaways in the UK have registered a hike in demand as food delivery firms such as Deliveroo and Just East reveal being particularly busy during the lockdown, with customers ordering in to comply with the stay-at-home measures.