In at least one way the most recognizable restaurant on earth was financially prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the course of the last year, McDonald’s had spent hundreds of millions of dollars upgrading their drive-through service, having installed advanced new digital menus and even cameras that can read license-plate numbers so that the restaurant can offer up tailored ordering suggestions for individual customers. Before the virus hit, drive-through service represented 70 percent of the fast food chain’s revenue. Since then, those window-to-car sales—though still fraught with fear among employees and customers alike—have buoyed the Golden Arches’ business.
Suffice it to say, the same can’t be said for the restaurant itself. McDonald’s has been forced to close its seating areas completely as social-distancing measures have the chain re-thinking the ways they’ll operate into the future and ensure the safety of their employees and customers. But if you want to see how McDonald’s may be forever altered into the future after the pandemic, you actually can.
In the Arnhem, a city in the Netherlands, the company recently rolled out an all-new anti-virus restaurant design that conforms to the new world of safety and social distancing. It includes several new features, while modifying and doing away with others. As McDonald’s Netherlands spokesperson Eunice Koek Koek described to Reuters, “These are drastic changes, but we hope to make them in a way that customers don’t notice them too much.”
Of course, this is a trial run in the Netherlands and the company has not announced any plans to roll out these changes to all 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. But when you see them, you’ll agree that it’s not unlikely McDonald’s requires them on a much larger scale. Curious to know the McDonald’s features you’re used to seeing for years that may not survive the Coronavirus pandemic?
1. Bare Floors Without Designated Waiting Spots and Floor Decals
The prototype post-COVID-19 McDonald’s includes floor decals and circles that are not only in the restaurant but also extend out into the parking lot. These graphics will direct the flow of traffic and tell customers where to stand, to ensure that proper social-distancing measures are followed.
2. People Bunched Together Waiting on Their Food
We’ve all been there before. You’ve ordered your food and then you jumble together with the other paying customers waiting on the number on your receipt to be called. That may no longer be the case moving forward.
The new McDonald’s design is experimenting with the idea of table service in which employees wheel over orders on a trolley to ensure contact-less delivery and that customers remain separated.
3. An Entrance Without Hand Sanitizer
Expect a jug of bacteria killer to greet you right when you walk into the store.
4. Tables Bunched Together Without Partitions
The new McDonald’s design will accommodate 66 percent less patrons than previously, and tables will be separated with clear partitions. The barriers in the Netherlands have stickers with messages on them, including: “Smile at a safe distance.”
5. Employees Not Wearing Gloves
This is one of the many safety measures the restaurant chain has implemented.
6. PlayPlaces Always Open
After the pandemic began and safety measures were first introduced, the closing of PlayPlaces and seating areas where among the first things to be prohibited. We can all expect that policy to continue.
7. Entry Points Without Hand Washing Stations
The new design also includes a hand-washing station—with a sink and paper towels—several feet before the hand sanitizer station.