Amid local and potentially national states of emergency related to the Coronavirus pandemic, it has been and will continue to be a very tough time for restaurants and people who frequent them. Even in healthier times, restaurants have occasionally resorted to desperate measures to get butts in seats. Now, even a lot of places who normally do great business will be hurting.
Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to give up on enjoying the restaurants you like entirely. Delivery is still an option (as of now, at least) in many places, and the introduction of contactless dropoff by some services can help make it possible to keep social distancing without starving. With that in mind, here’s an update on what chains and delivery services are doing to keep the orders flowing in the days and weeks ahead.
From Saturday March 14 through April 26, KFC will be doing free delivery through their website, Grubhub, and Seamless, with no promo code required.
Chipotle is doing free delivery between Sunday, March 15 and Tuesday March 31. Any order of $10 or more placed through the Chipotle app or Chipotle.com qualifies. The deliveries will be made in new, sealed packaging to ensure that food doesn’t get touched during the delivery.
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If you have a hankering for chain barbecue but are afraid to leave home, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is offering free, contactless delivery across the country from now through the end of April. It’s nationwide, but participation may vary.
While Grubhub itself isn’t yet offering free delivery, the company announced it’s “temporarily suspending collection of up to $100 million in commission payments from impacted independent restaurants nationwide.” It’s an initiative aimed at keeping restaurants afloat as dine-in traffic all but disappears and demand shifts almost entirely to delivery.
It’s up to independent restaurants as to whether or not they pass those savings from Grubhub onto the consumer, but in a stressful time like this you can’t really fault them if they need to hold onto the cash to make ends meet. One you’re relieved to find that your favorite place is still open for business once life gets back to normal, you’ll understand.
More important than food delivery is the delivery of necessary prescriptions to the immunosuppressed or elderly who put themselves at risk. Thankfully, CVS and Walgreens have both decided to waive fees associated with prescription deliveries so that an already challenging time doesn’t have to be even more difficult.
Of course, the caveat to all of this is that just because you get to hole up inside doesn’t mean that delivery people enjoy that luxury. While some delivery companies have said they’ll provide assistance to workers who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are entered into quarantine, many more might be forced to push through, constantly exposing themselves in order to make ends meet. The fact that the availability of COVID-19 tests remains woefully and dangerously inadequate certainly doesn’t help the situation.
So be sensible about your deliveries: keep up a regular and thorough hand washing routine to limit the risk of exposure (for you and your delivery person). But above all, be sure you tip extremely well. We (meaning consumers, restaurants, and their delivery staff) are all in this together, and the convenience of delivery right now comes with additional costs and risks for those dropping off your food. Pitch in what you can and hopefully things will be back to normal eventually.
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