In an open letter published this morning, Restaurant Brands International (NYSE:QSR) described the changes it's making to reassure customers and staff of their health and safety as it begins the process of reopening.
RBI, parent company of the well-known Burger King, Popeyes, and Tim Hortons brands, closed its dining rooms during March in accordance with government orders intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, it managed to attract investors in April as it soldiered through the difficulties with off-premise sales.
RBI is taking many of its cues from the experiences of franchisees in Asia, where the pandemic originated, and where a majority of businesses have since reopened. The safety steps assist in protecting customers while letting them enjoy a normal dine-in meal at the restaurants.
The ordering counters will feature acrylic "sneeze shields," according to RBI, along with contactless payment and service. Beverages will only be served from behind the counter rather than via self-serve fountains, so that diners won't need to touch heavily used handles.
RBI restaurants will mark specific tables as available and others as unavailable to help put space between groups of diners. Hand sanitizer will also be available to customers in the dining room. Employees will sanitize tables and chairs after each use.
RBI says that the health and safety measures will remain in place "for the foreseeable future and possibly forever." One potentially permanent change involves the employee dress code, which will now include "more comfortable and reusable masks that may become part of our standard uniforms."