IRVINE, Calif. — If you find yourself craving some Taco Bell in the days ahead, you may have to get that order to go.
The fast food chain announced Saturday they are preparing to have their restaurants serve guests through drive-thru and delivery only “where necessary.”
“Should we need to temporarily close our dining rooms, we would be limiting millions of guest interactions and further enable social distancing,” the company’s CEO said in a statement.
This new measure is in addition to “increased cleaning in the restaurants,” the company said.
Taco Bell has also changed their policy at company-owned locations to make sure “no one works who is sick.”
“We’ll be paying employees who are required to stay at home, or who work at a restaurant that is closed, for their scheduled or regularly scheduled hours during their time away from work. We’re actively working with our franchise partners to encourage a similar approach.”
Taco Bell said the company is working with franchise partners to “encourage a similar approach.”
Here’s the full statement from Taco Bell’s CEO:
To Our Taco Bell Fans,
Like most of you, I’ve been reading the news about the spread of coronavirus and I am convinced that Taco Bell, our franchisees and team members have an obligation to do something to help stop this from spreading. It’s the right thing to do, but outside of increased cleaning in the restaurants like we’ve been doing, how can we make a larger impact?
As regions of the U.S. begin to mandate public closures and self-quarantine, we are equipping our restaurants to serve our guests via drive-thru and delivery only where necessary. Should we need to temporarily close our dining rooms, we would be limiting millions of guest interactions and further enabling social distancing. We are going to redefine what it means to be a social brand during this coronavirus pandemic, while at the same time keeping our team members safe, and continuing to provide our fans with the delicious Taco Bell food they love.
We aim to be the safest place to eat AND the safest place to work. Our 7,200 managers are well-trained and prepared, and we’re going back to them to revisit our existing industry-leading training and operating procedures. Their personal well-being, safe food preparation, restaurant cleanliness and illness policies are our top priorities and are best practices from our operators from around the globe.
Because our people are the heart of our organization, and we understand the impact these actions can have, we’re amending our sick policy at our company-owned U.S. restaurants to better accommodate our teams while ensuring no one works who is sick. We’ll be paying employees who are required to stay at home, or who work at a restaurant that is closed, for their scheduled or regularly scheduled hours during their time away from work. We’re actively working with our franchise partners to encourage a similar approach.
Our purpose—to feed people’s lives with unexpected good—guides us in times like these, and we are thankful for your support. You can count on us to keep you informed as new information becomes available.
CEO, Taco Bell Corp.
Yum Brands!, the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC, also announced the following “increased health and safety measures” in their locations around the world:
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing throughout the restaurants
- Focusing on sanitizing high-touch areas such as front counters, pin pads, tables, trays, etc.
- Reinforcing our already strict sanitation, handwashing and health and wellness policies for employees
- Making every effort to ensure hand sanitizer is always available in the restaurants for team members and customers
- Creating feedback channels for restaurant teams and franchise partners to help quickly answer questions and provide any necessary guidance to the restaurants
“KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell will continue to enforce their already strict procedures around illness reporting for restaurant team members,” Yum Brands! said. “Should one of our restaurant team members become directly exposed to or diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19, the affected employees will be required to self-quarantine. We’ll work with local health authorities, thoroughly clean and sanitize the restaurant, and if an employee is confirmed, close the restaurant until it is safe to reopen. We’re working closely with our franchisees around the world to reinforce this strict policy.”
Like those employed at Taco Bell, Yum Brands! also said they will be paying KFC and Pizza Hut workers who are required to self-quarantine or who have a scheduled shift at a restaurant that is closed.
“We’re also encouraging our franchise partners to take a similar people-first approach.”