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Tue 28th Apr 2020 - Wagamama announces phased return for delivery operation, McDonald's begins testing for reopening
Wagamama announces phased return for delivery operation: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned brand, has announced plans for a gradual return for its delivery operation. Closely following government and expert medical advice, the brand has devised a schedule that will allow staff to slowly return to delivery-only work at their own discretion. The phased opening will form a “test and learn approach” for the business. The first sites to open will be Wagamama’s delivery kitchens – Peckham, Hackney, Bow and Leeds – with Peckham and Hackney opening on Thursday (30 April). This follows the successful testing of new operational practices last week in Peckham, where the team produced 1,000 meals for NHS front line workers in conjunction with Deliveroo – an initiative both will continue to support. Wagamama chief executive Emma Woods said: “We have made the decision to start a phased reopening for delivery, with the initial opening of our delivery kitchens. We have taken medical advice on how we keep our teams safe in a kitchen environment from a doctor who advises on health and safety in challenging operating environments, including previous experience in the cruise industry. This will be very much a test and learn approach for the business and roll-out depends on team and customer feedback.” Dr Kate Bunyan, who has helped Wagamama formulate a safe working protocol, said: “I have been working with Wagamama over the past few weeks to introduce new safety protocols, so its teams can feel safe, while providing the important service of food preparation for delivery. These now include the mandatory use of health questionnaires before every shift, no contact with delivery riders and increased frequency of hygiene regimes.” Since the lock-down, Wagamama has been running online home cookery lessons. The wok from home initiative sees executive chef Steve Mangleshot help people prepare some of Wagamama’s classic dishes, with the series already obtaining more than one million views in the past month. 

McDonald’s carries out ‘operation tests’ behind closed doors in UK, US franchisees report sales improving: McDonald’s is carrying out “operational tests” behind closed doors but will only reopen some of its UK and Ireland restaurants “when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s well-being”. The company took the decision to close its sites last month “for the safety of our people and customers” but has begun working through a “potential and limited reopening”. McDonald's UK and Ireland chief executive Paul Pomroy said: “Restarting our business is not an easy task even when reopening in a limited capacity. We have set ourselves some key criteria for reopening, all of which take time – first and foremost ensuring the well-being of our people and creating the right environment for them to return to work; secondly ensuring we have enough supply of fresh produce; and finally working in-step with government guidelines to ensure the safety of our customers. This week we are carrying out some operational tests to explore what our reopening might look like; the restaurant where these tests take place will remain closed to the public. These tests will include exploring social distancing measures for our crew, personal protective equipment options and opening in a limited capacity. For now we remain closed, and will only reopen when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s well-being.” Meanwhile, an analyst’s survey of US franchisees showed like-for-like sales are improving. In the latest survey by Kalinowski Equity Research, analyst Mark Kalinowski projected like-for-like sales at McDonald’s had decreased 20% to 25% in the second week of April, compared with a projected decline of 25% to 30% the previous week, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. A majority of McDonald’s circa 14,000 US restaurants have remained open for takeaway orders during the pandemic. However, the brand is serving a limited menu. The analyst report comes as The NPD Group revealed consumers increased their restaurant transactions for the week ending 19 April. It said although the industry was still at historic lows compared with a year ago, transactions declined by 36% compared with a 43% decline the prior week. 

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