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Starbucks and McDonald’s Attempt to Lysol Away Customers’ Coronavirus Worries

Plus, White Claw is releasing new flavors, and more news to start your day

A Starbucks sign looks down on two pedestrians.
Starbucks Sign
Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

Major chains are ramping up cleanliness in the face of lower traffic

As the new coronavirus outbreak spreads, people are becoming increasingly nervous about interacting in public places like cafes and restaurants. That could mean a drastic loss in sales, so both Starbucks and McDonald’s are doing their best to ensure customer confidence. McDonald’s recommended stores provide hand sanitizer to customers, and that employees sanitize surfaces and door handles more often. In a memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks told employees to clean cafes and bathrooms more often, and to regularly wash their hands. Which we hope is not too far from normal operations?

Starbucks is also no longer allowing customers to bring in their own cups for refills because, though more environmentally-friendly, it easily spreads germs. However, customers who bring their own cups will still receive a 10 cent discount as a courtesy, but will still be served a new cup.

Even with the knowledge that cups are fresh and the counters have just been Lysol-ed, customers still might be too nervous to interact with other humans in a storefront.

And in other news...

  • Hard Seltzer phenomenon White Claw is introducing three new flavors—Tangerine, Watermelon and Lemon—leading fans to ask “wait, Lemon wasn’t already a flavor?” [Press Release]
  • Olive Garden fired a manager at an Indiana location after the manager acquiesced to a customer who made racist comments to employees, and asked to not be served by a black person. [NBC]
  • College students in South Carolina are raising money for a Wendy’s employee who lost his home in a fire. [CNN]
  • Trader Joe’s is reimbursing employees for sick time taken due to coronavirus. [Insider]
  • DoorDash is trying to go public, despite losing money and facing legal battles. [NY Times]
  • Ahh, the good old days when you could scam Pizza Hut by reading books. [Food & Wine]
  • Him Tortons