McDonald's will reopen 15 pilot restaurants across south-east England from tomorrow for a delivery service only, with a £25 order cap allowing for smaller teams and social distancing in kitchens.
The selected sites, including those in Luton, Chelmsford and Ipswich, will open at 11am for McDelivery services via Uber Eats. The restaurants themselves, including drive-throughs and their car parks, will remain closed to the public.
Paul Pomroy, McDonald's chief executive UK and Ireland, said it had been working "tirelessly" over the past two months to "overhaul" its operational procedures to enable its teams to return to work safely.
He said: "I want to thank the franchisees, managers and employees who are busy preparing for this reopening and wish them all the best for what will undoubtedly be a busy return to the communities in which they operate."
Further to the "incredible response" to the fast food giant's news of reopening, Pomroy confirmed that next week it would reopen a further 30 pilot restaurants, and from 20 May it would start reopening drive-throughs, with a view to reopening all drive-throughs by early June. There would be a cap spend of £25 per car and contactless payment methods would be encouraged, he said.
Pomroy said the safety and wellbeing measures that had been introduced to the restaurants included having fewer people in the kitchen and service areas, offering a reduced menu over reduced hours, temperature checks and additional training on cleanliness practises for staff.
Staff would also be provided with protective equipment, including gloves and facemasks for customer- and courier-facing positions. The company said it has worked with the government, trade bodies, employees and guests, and that all restaurants will be deep-cleaned prior to reopening..
The gradual reopening roll-out would provide learning opportunities, Pomroy said, allowing the company to start reopening in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland. Pomroy asked customers to be "supportive and patient" as service was likely to be slower than usual and that customers should expect queues at some of their busier sites.
Pomroy added: "The well-being of our employees, suppliers and delivery partners' couriers is my top priority and we will only extend our plans at a pace that enables us to create a safe working environment for our teams."