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FRANCHISE FRENZY

How is the fast food industry surviving coronavirus?

2020. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw
Drive-through fast food has been a bright spot for the restaurant industry.
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The coronavirus pandemic has changed our relationship with fast food. Recent financial disclosures and earnings calls from some of the world’s largest quick-service restaurant companies give us a detailed idea of how they are adapting as a result.

Quick, convenient, low-contact meals from fast-food chains have helped many people through the pandemic. Drive-through business has boomed as people avoid going indoors and try to keep their distance. Many in the industry have focused on maximizing contact-free experiences like delivery and curbside pickup.

Locations outside the US have taken more of a hit due to stricter lockdowns, but many businesses continue to see growth. Global pizza chain Domino’s, for example, just had its 38th consecutive quarter of sales growth.

As Americans put their normal routines and commutes on hold and stayed home, breakfast and morning coffee sales fell—but mid-morning sales ticked up. And businesses also report that customers are now placing larger orders, for more people.

Here are some other bright spots fast-food executives are seeing at their restaurants.

Photos by David Yanofsky.