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    Fast food chains feed the hungry as they gradually reopen restaurants

    Some of South Africa's largest quick-service restaurant brands have partnered to provide meals to communities in which access to food is a major challenge. Nando's, McDonald's and KFC will be working with Joint Aid Management (JAM) to feed hungry South Africans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown.

    Nando's not open to the public

    While level four lockdown regulations permit the sale of hot food for home delivery during restricted hours, Nando's will not be opening to the public. Instead, a small number of Nando's restaurants dedicated to cooking meals for food-insecure communities.

    “We are delighted, after five long weeks, to be able to support the neediest in our country but opening for delivery only will lose Nando’s and our franchise partners more money than being closed. We are focused on preserving the jobs of our thousands of employees into the future and can’t add to the already enormous weekly losses we’re suffering,” says Mike Cathie, CEO of Nando’s South Africa.

    “We’d also like to see the regulations relaxed to allow us to open drive-thru restaurants for take-away. Aligning with government’s approach, we believe the risks of drive-thru are actually lower than those for delivery,” added Cathie.

    Since the announcement of the lockdown, Nando’s says it has ensured that normal salaries are paid to all employees, apart from senior management who volunteered reductions to support the business. All suppliers have been paid in full as payments became due. An extended period of royalty breaks has also been agreed with Nando’s franchise partners to help them through the crisis.

    Fast food brands opening to the public this May

    Meanwhile, KFC will be opening a limited number of restaurants to the public on a delivery basis, and with a simplified menu. The phased roll-out will begin on 2 May.

    "Delivery traditionally has been a small part of our business and as a start, we will open a limited number of restaurants. We are committed to continue working with landlords, suppliers and aggregators to increase our delivery footprint and open even more restaurants in the coming weeks," the company said in a statement.

    "We will continue to work with Government to allow us to open our drive-thru’s to enable more South Africans to access the nation’s most loved chicken, whilst respecting contactless service and social distancing."

    In addition to working with JAM, KFC will continue its Add Hope initiative, which to date has provided over 1 million meals to those most affected by the pandemic.

    McDonald's will also be reopening from 2 May with delivery only. The company will initially reopen a limited number of restaurants, but more may open in time.

    Burger King will be opening select restaurants around the country to deliver its full menu as of Wednesday, 6 May 2020. Thirty-three Burger King restaurants will offer delivery services, in partnership with Mr D Food and Uber Eats, between the hours of 9am and 7pm.

    “Unfortunately, due to the poor financial viability of only offering a home delivery service, coupled with the 8pm (level four) curfew, only a few Burger King restaurants will be open for deliveries at this time,” says Ezelna Jones, group marketing executive at Burger King.

    “Over a gradual phased approach, in partnership with Government, we hope to soon announce options such as drive-thru and take-away at all Burger King restaurants, delivering contactless fast food options to our customers - especially frontline workers such as medical emergency, security and law enforcement," she added.

    “At this time, we would also like to praise our Government for the inspiring leadership it has demonstrated to date in the face of this global pandemic. As a responsible fast food outlet, we too are fully committed to minimising the spread of Covid-19 in our country."

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