Nation’s Restaurant News has been bringing you news about the coronavirus pandemic since January, but there isn’t enough time to cover it all, so we’re bringing you a roundup of news you should know but may have missed this week.
Here’s your list for the week of April 27:
1. Jobless claims from Asian Americans in New York increase 6,900% over last year
In New York City, one of the hardest hit areas of the world during the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment claims by self-identified Asian Americans increased 6900% from this time last year, and have grown from 3.7% to 12.5% of unemployment claims.
Numbers were up for all races, but nowhere near as much.
Neighborhoods such as Chinatown have been all but abandoned by consumers, as we reported in February - over a month before New York’s stay-at-home order began.
Meanwhile, claims from workers identifying as white increased 1,840%; claims from workers identifying as black increased 1,260%; and Hispanic and Latinx-identifying workers’ claims increased 2,100%, according to the latest reports from the U.S. Department of Labor.
2. McDonald’s Netherlands tests a new model post-COVID-19
A McDonald’s in the Netherlands is testing new safety protocols as the world moves to reopen that may soon appear in other locations. Meal trolleys, hand sanitizer stations and designated wait spots are all features of the new restaurant model. Experts at McDonald’s believe that this model will function well at 180 of the 252 locations in the country, allowing them to serve 66% of their regular number of customers.
The Netherlands has not reopened yet, but the lockdown is expected to loosen after May 19 with a decision to reopen restaurants and bars from the Prime Minister on May 12.
3. Pret a Manger opens for business and sells groceries across New York City
Pret a Manger, the fast-casual chain based out of London, closed all U.S. locations on March 17 - but on April 28, the brand said it was opening select NYC locations for takeout via GrubHub/Seamless in what it considers its “first wave of re-openings.”
Pret a Manger also launched Pret Groceries, an on-demand delivery/pick-up service through Seamless. The company said New Yorkers can order groceries and bulk items.
According to an email, any employee working during this time also receives 1.5% overtime premium on their hourly rates, and the chain has introduced new safety measures for the units that reopen. These measures include not allowing more than six customers inside at a time, having hand sanitizer readily available, allowing customers to pack their own bag, requiring everyone to wear a face mask, and only using contactless pay.
4. Quick service and fast-casual brands give back with supplies and entertainment
Kentucky Fried Chicken this week created a donation program through the KFC Foundation to help with groceries, according to a press release. A survey of KFC employees found that groceries for employees and families was their greatest need. The chain said that the KFC Foundation will provide $500,000 worth of grocery products to restaurant-level employees hurt by the COVID-19 crisis.
Raising Cane’s and &pizza have both decided to address their customers’ desire for entertainment. Quick-service brand Raising Cane’s began a fundraising campaign through its “Raising Cane’s In The Moment Virtual Entertainment Series,” where different musical artists perform every Wednesday and Friday night on the company’s Facebook Live. The program has almost raised $500,000 for healthcare workers. At &pizza, founder Michael Lastoria announced the “Hero Concert series” on his Twitter, featuring Broadway stars performing to raise money for the chain’s Hero Pie Program through which they provide food to frontline workers.
For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.
Learn how consumer trends are shifting during COVID-19 from our panel of experts on Thursday, May 7.
Contact Holly Petre at [email protected]