Fried chook chain KFC has announced the temporary closure of its restaurant dining areas to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Australia, but says take-away, drive-thru, and deliveries of the Colonel’s best are still on the cards.
In a statement released this morning, KFC Chief Executive Officer Nikki Lawson said the move is intended to promote social distancing — that is, the practice of staying away from others who may be ill with the virus, or susceptible to it. So, everyone, really.
“Just a week ago no-one knew what ‘social distance’ was, now we all know how important it is,” she said.
“So, from Wednesday 18 March, we’ve chosen to temporarily close our dining room seating and get everyone to use drive-thru, takeaway or get KFC home-delivered.”
Lawson said KFC will also ramp up cleaning protocols, provide staff with “special COVID-19 training,” and encourage the use of contactless payment systems.
View this post on Instagram
While those new provisions will impact more than 650 restaurants Australia-wide, a KFC spokesperson said its food court locations, which are unable to police the use of mall eating areas, “Will be packing orders as takeaways.”
The move has been met with some appreciation from fans of the red and white bucket, who seem chuffed their breaded bird is still available.
KFC’s decision comes amid rapid developments in Australia’s response to the crisis.
This morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced indoor gatherings of 100 people or more will be banned for the foreseeable future, while encouraging social distancing measures which may make visiting smaller but more crowded restaurants and bars untenable.
KFC’s move is a first in the crowded Australian fast food market.
A McDonald’s Australia spokesperson told PEDESTRIAN.TV the fast food chain remains open for business with no changes to restaurant dining areas.
In a statement, CEO Andrew Gregory said “Our leadership team is meeting daily to assess the situation… Each day, we continue to access and implement all necessary changes to ensure we can continue to keep serving our customers.”
PEDESTRIAN.TV has contacted Hungry Jack’s regarding their responses to the outbreak.Image: Mike Egerton / EMPICS / Getty Images