Burger King, Popeyes, Tim Hortons to begin reopening dining rooms: Here's what to expect

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Customers will be able to dine inside select Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons locations across North America once again, as the restaurants' parent company strategically reopens dining rooms in compliance with government ordinances amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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News of the reopening safety plan was announced on Tuesday by CEO Jose Cil of Restaurant Brands International (RBI,) the parent company of the three chains.

“With almost 15,000 restaurant locations across North America, team members and restaurant owners at Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes have done an incredible job in operating drive-thru, delivery and mobile channels efficiently and safely throughout this crisis,” Cil said in an open letter. “We are now moving into the next phase of reopening dining rooms according to guidance from local authorities and will be welcoming back millions of guests to dine-in at our convenient locations.”

“We are now moving into the next phase of reopening dining rooms according to guidance from local authorities and will be welcoming back millions of guests to dine-in at our convenient locations," the CEO of parent company Restaurant Brands International said. 

“We are now moving into the next phase of reopening dining rooms according to guidance from local authorities and will be welcoming back millions of guests to dine-in at our convenient locations," the CEO of parent company Restaurant Brands International said.  (Burger King, Popeye's, Tim Hortons)

RBI took notes from colleagues in Asia, "where they are a couple months ahead of us" in establishing practices for the reopening plan, such as taking North American employee's temperatures at the start of each shift, Cil said.

As Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes restaurants reopen their dining rooms, customers can expect their next in-store dining experiences to look a little bit different than those before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Masks and gloves have been mandated, and may possibly become a more permanent part of worker’s standard uniforms. RBI chains have also rapidly expanded their digital capabilities, improving the drive-thru experience, accessibility on delivery apps, mobile orders and curbside pick-up to promote contactless sales.

According to the statement, acrylic shields and contactless service have already been established at “most” restaurants. Safe social distancing rules will also be enforced in dining rooms, with tabletop signage detailing which tables are open for customer use, while others are blocked off to promote physical distancing.

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Cleaning protocols have also been amplified, with tables and chairs sanitized after each use and hand sanitizer made available in the dining rooms for all guests. Self-serve soda fountains have been eliminated, while beverages, extra condiments and trays are available behind the store counter.

Around the world, RBI employees are also receiving training on the new health and safety protocols.

“So, the next time you walk into a Burger King, Tim Hortons or Popeyes dining room, we will proudly welcome you back – and our restaurant owners and their incredible teams are looking forward to serving you responsibly and safely, as we have throughout and especially during the crisis,” Cil concluded.

Though the open letter did not disclose how many restaurant dining rooms will be opened up across the continent during the next phase of reopening dining rooms, Business Insider claims that "close to 1,000" Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons dining rooms are “fully open” for business in states allowing in-person dining.

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RBI was contacted for further comment.

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