How fast food has profited from COVID-19
Just about every business one can think of has been negatively affected by COVID-19. However, there is at least one business I can think of that COVID has had just the opposite affect on: the fast-food business!
Before COVID-19, fast-food places were open and provided a good customer service option: eating inside, or, be you in a hurry, order via the drive-through.
Then COVID hit, and you know the story: SHUTDOWN! For fast food, to continue to make some money, they kept their drive-through windows open, and the folks kept coming.
Now, things have lightened up ... a lot! Most eating establishments are open for indoor dining; even smaller places like Huddle House and Waffle House. But have you noticed? Few of the typical fast-food places, such as Arby’s or Burger King, have opened for indoor dining!
Here’s why: Through the COVID shutdown experience, they learned that business did NOT suffer, for several reasons. First, they could reduce staff by at least half. Save on salary, on employee insurance and other benefits. Second, no expense for dining room maintenance. Third, eliminate the very costly two-customer restrooms. Fourth, no more free soda refills, or refill machines to operate. But probably the biggest savings was on liability insurance they had to have against customer dining room incidents.
There is just no reason these places can’t offer indoor dining. My goodness, some of their dining rooms are twice as big as your typical Waffle House. A very good friend of mine in Columbia says that some fast-food places have turned their once-customer-friendly dining rooms into storage areas!
It’s really sad that these places that once depended on their loyal customers to come on inside and dine have now slammed the door in the faces of their own customers in the name of the almighty dollar! The Arby’s on Beltline Drive had been my favorite since the late 1980s; the owner I considered a personal friend, and I was familiar with the crew. I can’t believe she has turn me away.
I try NOT to go to these places any more because what they are doing is shameful. To think that I used to go out of my way to eat INSIDE at the Beltline Arby’s makes me sad now. I don’t think I’d go to that place now if I were starving!
As for me, a once really nice but small part of my retirement life is over. I liked going inside and being treated well by the crew; you know, a familiar and friendly hello and maybe some small chat. It was just nice and kinda brightened my day.
Now all you get is the regular “Hello, may I take your order?” And consider yourself darned lucky you got what you ordered and paid for, because now all these places are interested in are shoving your food through a tiny window and getting your money. You can kiss customer service goodbye from these places, like my old Arby’s on Beltline.
JAMES K. WARD