Walmart, 7-Eleven, and McDonald’s Have Shortened Hours During COVID-19 Pandemic, And 24-Hour Shopping May Be Slow To Return

  • Walmart, Mcdonalds, and other chains have shortened hours in response to COVID-19.
  • Some retailers are trying to get back to 24/7 service, but they can’t find workers.
  • One expert believes overnight shopping will come back eventually.

The United States is finally reopening after more than a year of restrictions on COVID-19, but some things may never be the same.

In the spring of 2020, as people locked in to slow the spread of the coronavirus, retailers adjusted hours to spend more time cleaning stores. Restaurants and 24-hour stores were the most affected. Walmart Adjusted Hours so stores can close early for nightly cleanings, and Owners recommended by 7-Eleven close at midnight. Not all McDonald’s were open 24 hours before the pandemic, but many Dining rooms closed and hours shortened for safety reasons.

The restrictions are finally lifted as more of the population get vaccinated, but conditions are not what they used to be, so stores are unlikely to return 24/7. on 7 soon. Workers are reluctant to take the risks of night shifts, people have changed their shopping habits during the pandemic and the labor shortage is doing staffing of stores and restaurants extremely difficult. Almost half of all American restaurants say they are “seriously understaffed,”and even getting candidates out the door has been a struggle. Some channels are turning to large-scale recruiting events to filter bands of candidates at a time, with benefits like money just to introduce yourself and driving interviews in some stores.

Read more: How the team that saved KFC brought their marketing and innovation strategy to Pizza Hut and crushed Domino’s in sales growth in the last quarter

7-Eleven, which has thousands of franchise-managed locations, asked owner-operators to return to pre-pandemic hours in May.


The National Coalition of Associations of 7 eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), which represent approximately 7,200 locations in the United States, sent a letter to company executives saying the labor shortage and higher operating costs have led to a “very disastrous” situation.

Staying open any longer, as the company has asked owners to do before May 24, is not possible, they said. Franchisees say finding staff for night shifts is “extremely difficult” and night sales do not necessarily cover labor costs. The low traffic at night can also pose risks of flight, violence, and drunk drivers, which may not be worth it for many operators or workers.

McDonald’s, which just announced plans to increase wages at company-owned restaurants, suffers from many of the same problems. Franchisees who cannot find staff to cover the hours largely blame the improved unemployment benefits.

“Why work when you can stay at home more?” a McDonald’s franchisee once told Insider. “Stimulation and unemployment are killing the labor. “At least one establishment has used the offer Payments of $ 50 for interviews, and another in Fayetteville, North Carolina, would offer a Signing bonus of $ 500. Some places, however, are returning to 24-hour service.

For retailers with a franchise model, operators and businesses have different incentives, Kalinowski Equity Research’s Mark Kalinowski told Insider. From the operator’s point of view, franchisees like the signatories of the 7-Eleven letter “could sell overnight, but not profitably,” Kalinowski said. Meanwhile, companies are under pressure to push for more royalties that could come from longer hours.

Walmart has extended shopping hours compared to the original cut last March. U.S. stores closed at 8:30 p.m. effective March 2020, and in November 2020, Walmart again adjusted the schedule to keep stores open until 11:00 p.m., but there is no indication that there are plans to return to 24 hour operation. Walmart did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

While 24/7 shops and restaurants are unlikely to return anytime soon, experts aren’t convinced it’s gone forever. In the short term, a shortage of workers will make it difficult for companies to increase hours, Kalinowski told Insider, but “if there is consumer demand, operators will figure out how to get there.”

While Kalinowski believes the extended hours will make a “substantial comeback,” experts aren’t sure when to expect the changes.
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