SINGAPORE – The McDonald’s store at Canberra Plaza in Yishun is cheerfully decorated with pop colors and cartoon characters. But since dinners weren’t allowed until June 13 under phase two (heightened alert) rules, it was largely empty and desperate.
A few young boys who entered were directed, after scanning and sanitizing their hands, to stand-alone order kiosks where customers can view the menu, place their orders and make payment.
Touch screens are treated with Sdst, a self-disinfecting antimicrobial coating that is reapplied every 90 days. They are also disinfected every two hours.
After having recovered their food, the young people left by an exit at the other end of the exit.
These are part of the measures and protocols imposed by the fast food giant in all of its outlets since April last year, when it suspended all restaurant operations for two weeks in response to a group. of cases of Covid-19 linked to its points of sale.
These are again being examined with a new McDonald’s cluster that started with a delivery guy at their Bedok Reservoir branch on May 20 and expanded to a roommate who worked as a rider for the Pasir Ris Elias Community Club outlet.
There are now 19 cases connected to the cluster. Eight are from the two McDonald’s outlets and six are delivery men and kitchen staff from Pizza Hut, who are close contacts of early cases. The other cases are other contacts linked to the staff of the two chains.
McDonald’s uses a third party, i-vic Logistics, to supply McDelivery riders, while Pizza Hut has a mix of full-time employees and third-party riders. A spokesperson for i-vic Logistics said its pilots only work for McDonald’s.
McDonald’s and Pizza Hut also work with food delivery platforms such as Grab, foodpanda, and Deliveroo.
The two restaurant chains say they have not added new protocols after the recent cases because strict measures have already been in place since the breaker in the middle of last year.
These include the lack of cross-deployment of staff and delivery people in outlets, twice daily temperature measurements and constant hand disinfection. They also practice contactless deliveries and cashless payments.
What both companies have done instead is remind staff and delivery people more frequently to follow protocols.
This time, instead of closing all of its outlets, McDonald’s decided to close only the affected restaurants for two weeks.
“The situation last year was different as the staff at the time were deployed to all outlets,” said Mr. Benjamin Boh, general manager of Hanbaobao, the licensee of McDonald’s in Singapore. “But we’ve tightened up all of our procedures since then and our staff and runners only work for one restaurant. So when someone is affected, we can quickly shut down the outlet and contain it. That’s a lot more. controllable.”
Currently, four restaurants, including those at Woodgrove and Hougang Avenue 8 which have cases unrelated to the cluster, are closed and all staff are quarantined for 14 days.
Pizza Hut has the same policy and its three outlets connected to the cluster – at Punggol Plaza, Westgate and Havelock II – are closed.
Mr Boh added that 30% of McDonald’s employees have been vaccinated, and a company spokesperson said all staff are encouraged to get vaccinated. The i-vic Logistics spokesperson said more than 80% of its runners have been vaccinated and have also participated in swab tests for food delivery people.
Major delivery platforms could not say how many of their passengers have been vaccinated because they are not full-time employees.
Mr. Chua Teow Hock, operations manager of Pizza Hut Singapore, said the company encourages all eligible staff to get vaccinated as soon as possible. He added: “We have submitted the details of our frontline and delivery staff to the Department of Health for assistance in speeding up the vaccination process.”
The Sunday Times visited a McDonald’s store on May 27 and a Pizza Hut store on May 28 to observe their security protocols:
Security Protocol at McDonald’s Canberra Plaza
In the kitchen:
The kitchen staff follow a “hold in place” work system, each person staying in their place, keeping a distance of 1 to 2 m from each other. Cooked food from each station is left in a packing area and the conditioner does not enter the kitchen. Staff take breaks one at a time.
Staff and delivery person:
There is a separate packaging area for deliveries, and food is sealed after packaging to reassure customers that it is not tampered with during travel. Equipment used by runners is disinfected after each delivery.
A larger outlet like Canberra Plaza has a room called the delivery cell where two McDelivery passengers are allowed at a time to wait in demarcated areas for orders to be packed. For small outlets, the cell is located outside the restaurant.
The packaged food is placed on a counter and the horsemen collect it and leave.
Riders from other platforms are alerted to food that is ready via a number display system and retrieve it from a separate counter.
Staff and clients:
Take-out customers use a touchscreen to order and pay for food. They then stand inside designated areas to have the food ready before picking it up at a service counter. Those who want to pay in cash collect the food from the cashier who stands behind a plastic shield. Hand sanitizer is provided on the counter.
Delivery man and customer:
Cash payment is not accepted for deliveries. Contactless delivery is available, with the food hanging on the door or the door.
Security Protocol at Pizza Hut Compass One
In the kitchen:
The two kitchen workers work in separate spaces and change gloves each time they move to another position. The ready food is left on a counter and another staff member takes it to the packing area and bags it for collection. Staff take breaks one at a time.
Staff and delivery person:
The outlet does not employ riders but uses two “walk-in delivery men” who bring food to nearby addresses on foot.
Every staff member, including internal delivery people, who enters the restaurant must undergo temperature checks, disinfect their hands, and complete a digital form detailing health status and recent movements. They must also wear approved masks, such as surgical masks and three-layer fabric masks.
Passengers from other delivery platforms are not allowed in the restaurant. They are alerted when the food is packed and collect it from the tables set up at the entrance.
Staff and client:
Customers who order takeout scan a QR Code for the menu, ordering and payment. They leave and come back to get the food on a table at the entrance when it is ready.
Those who wish can order from the cashier and pay cash. A bottle of hand sanitizer is provided on the counter.
Delivery staff and customer:
For contactless delivery, the customer is alerted when the food arrives and asked where the food should be placed. The delivery man keeps his distance to wait for the customer to collect the food before leaving.