Photo – REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
Drive-thru lanes have saved many QSR operators in North America who would otherwise have seen business slow to just take-out and delivery, with dining areas in most jurisdictions closed or greatly restricted.
But there are lots of QSRs that don’t do drive-thru or never made it that much of a focus, and others that are in urban areas where drive-thru would not work. That’s particularly true in the central business districts of big cities, and for Europe, where drive-thru isn’t much of a thing.
The Dutch arm of McDonald’s has started testing and showing its take on how on-premises dining might work in the new norms brought on by COVID-19.
Reuters has a report up on a location in Arnhem, the “Bridge Too Far” city near the Netherlands-Germany border. It uses things like a check-in desk, steadily cleaned ordering kiosk screens, and table delivery to enable safe dining.
“We have tried to figure out how to keep our customers and employees safe, while maintaining a restaurant atmosphere,” McDonald’s Netherlands spokeswoman Eunice Koekkoek told Reuters.
“These are drastic changes, but we hope to make them in a way that customers don’t notice them too much.”
What’s most interesting to me is that that self-service ordering screens are being used. I have now run a couple of webinars, as well as a podcast, on the concerns around touchscreens. The more I talk and listen, the more I settle in on the simple fact that touchscreens are just another surface. Screens in public spaces need to be cleaned and sanitized steadily, but so do door handles, rails and tabletops.
Ultimately, what will protect people from picking up the virus from touching things is soap, sanitizers and vigilance.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.