While there is a surge in Covid-19 cases around the US, which is causing new closures and backtracking on reopenings in many states, McDonald’s is the latest food chain to announce changes.
After informing last week that new safety measures were being taken at their restaurants, including the use of face masks for clients and employees, McDonald’s has now announced that 200 branches of its 14,000 restaurants in the United States will permanently close, for being classified as "low volume." More than half of them are located inside Walmart stores.
The company said that the closings of branches had been planned for future years, but the dates had to be brought forward. "In a matter of weeks McDonald’s made operational modifications to 39,000 restaurants it has worldwide while closing and then reopening another 9,000 restaurants," said Chris Kempczinski, the company's CEO.
The company presented a greater than expected decline in sales at its global locations that due to the coronavirus crisis remained closed and could not meet the earnings expectations.
Comparable sales at its restaurants plunged 23.9% in the second quarter, which ends July 30. In the United States, where more than a third of its restaurants operate, comparable sales fell 8.7% even though consumers were able to buy food from their cars and the company was able to send food through delivery service.
Given the company’s new security procedures in all branches, as from August 1st, the use of masks will be mandatory when entering restaurants around the country and there will be an adjusted menu.
McDonald’s is not alone in announcing permanent closings. Dunkin is closing 450 stores by the end of 2020 and Starbucks reported in June that it plans to close up to 400 of its company-owned stores over the next 18 months.
According to the latest report from the Yelp platform, about 60% of the restaurants that closed temporarily due to the pandemic will not be reopening.