McDonald's designs ordering system for truck drivers amid coronavirus

  • The coronavirus outbreak has shuttered restaurants and truck stops where truck drivers typically eat and rest.
  • Some fast food locations are drive-thru only, but that still blocks America’s 1.8 million truck drivers from getting food.
  • To combat that, McDonald’s wrote in an open letter to truck drivers that they’re pledging to keep their stores open to truck drivers. 
  • Are you a truck driver or a McDonald’s employee? How has your work changed amid the coronavirus pandemic? Email rpremack@businessinsider.com or ktaylor@businessinsider.com
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As rest stops and restaurants shutter across the US, making it complicated for America’s 1.8 million truck drivers to find food on the road, McDonald’s is pledging to try to keep locations open for truck drivers seeking food. 

“As the world continues to address the quickly changing landscape, we are in this together with you, our valued friends in the trucking and transportation industry,” Bill Garrett, McDonald’s senior vice president of operations said in an open letter on Monday. “Thank you for everything you are doing to keep essential parts of our economy going.” Garrett continued: “We wanted to personally reach out to you and let you know that, to support you in this effort, McDonald’s restaurants are doing their best to remain open to provide hot meals to our customers and employees, as long as local, state, and federal governments continue to allow us to do so.”  Last week, McDonald’s shuttered seating areas in restaurants and encouraged franchisees to do the same, continuing business via drive-thru, delivery, and carry-out.

However, as Garrett notes in Monday’s letter, some locations have restricted business to delivery and drive-thru only, which can create issues. Truck drivers cannot maneuver rigs through drive-thru lanes and are banned from walking to order at the drive-thru, due to safety concerns.  “If the truck stops close, then the trucks stop driving,” truck driver LuAnne Breeden told Business Insider. “Truck drivers rely on the fast food at those stops for their meals.”

At some locations, McDonald’s is allowing drivers to place curbside orders via mobile order and pay, with a designated trucker curbside pick-up area. Drivers can place an order on the McDonald’s app when arriving at a restaurant, select curbside service, walk to the designated trucker pick-up area, and pick up their order there where it is ready. 

mcdonalds bag McDonald’s brown paper bag.Scott Olson/Getty Images

The announcement could be a win for truck drivers, many of whom have reached to Business Insider saying their food options are vanishing in recent weeks. And while many restaurants have converted to take-out only, few allow truck parking. 

Some truck drivers cook in their trucks, but, like all Americans, drivers are struggling to find well-stocked stores. Some state-owned rest stops are shuttering as the novel coronavirus forces stores and restaurants nationwide to close. Pennsylvania closed all 30 of its rest stops last week, but then announced it would open 13 back up to parking and portable toilets.

Michigan, Texas, and Nebraska also announced the full or partial closure of their rest stops.  Meanwhile, commercial truck stops like Pilot Flying J are still open, with dining rooms and lounges closed. As of March 19, more than 100 fast food locales like Subway and Wendy’s in Pilot Flying J stops are closed overnight.

Are you a truck driver or a McDonald’s employee?

How has your work changed amid the coronavirus pandemic?

Email rpremack@businessinsider.com or ktaylor@businessinsider.com

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