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According to McDonald’s, the Future of Fast Food Is Very Clean and Socially Distant

Plus, viruses can spread really quickly in a dining room, and more news to start your day

Interior of a McDonald’s McDonald’s
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.

Get ready to see a lot of cleaning

As states continue to allow restaurant dining rooms to reopen, but science shows how quickly viruses spread in places like dining rooms, most restaurants are put in a strange position of trying to offer hospitality and comfort while also setting up a bunch of limitations on how diners can interact. The Wall Street Journal reports that McDonald’s has sent a 59-page guide to its franchise owners on how to operate dining rooms, which includes disinfecting “high-touch” surfaces every 30 minutes, and creating lanes with signs so customers don’t accidentally touch each other.

Other new practices include closing the public soda fountains, cleaning digital kiosks after each order, and placing “closed” signs on certain tables to maintain distance between customers. And while it sounds meticulous, it also doesn’t sound like the most pleasant way to dine out. If anything it just proves that a “normal” night out at a restaurant is a long way away, and that you might be better off sticking to the drive-thru.

And in other news...

  • For Stanley Tucci, having “short supplies” means the children will have to settle for pasta alla Norma and lamb chops for dinner. [The Atlantic]
  • Danny Meyer says he expects his dining rooms to remain closed until there is a COVID-19 vaccine. [Bloomberg]
  • A black light experiment shows how quickly a virus can spread in a restaurant. [CNN]
  • Driscoll’s says there might not be enough of a market for berries this summer. [FoodDive]
  • Golden Corrall is reopening, but without its signature buffet. [RB]
  • Chick-fil-A is now the second highest grossing fast food chain in the U.S., beating out Burger King and Taco Bell. [NYPost]
  • Due to rising food prices, restaurants are adding “COVID-19 surcharges” to their bills. Customers aren’t happy. [Vice]
  • Counties with meat plants are seeing double the novel coronavirus infection rates. [Modern Farmer]