Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) - Get Report on Tuesday became the latest big restaurant chain to move to a to-go model in the wake of the coronavirus, ordering franchisees to eliminate seating and focus on takeout, delivery and drive-through service.
Starting today, all Dunkin' franchisees are required to limit sales to drive-through, carry-out and delivery service and to remove all tables and chairs.
The quick-service chain, which oversees 8,500 restaurants in 41 states, also wants franchise owners to promote mobile ordering through the Dunkin' app and delivery service through Grubhub (GRUB) - Get Report and other vendors.
The aim is "to limit person-to-person contact and to move guests through the restaurant as quickly as possible," the company said in a statement.
As Dunkin' Brands rolls out changes in response to covid-19, the quick-service chain may be better positioned than some of its peers in the industry to ride out the economic turbulence triggered by the virus. The number of cases has been steadily mounting across the U.S.
Dunkin' has traditionally relied on drive-through for a big component of its sales and was already in the midst of a campaign to generate more sales through its mobile ordering and and delivery services.
The firm predicted an overall 0.9% drop in business in the first quarter among fast-food chains.
Meanwhile, Dunkin' Brands is also urging franchise owners to reduce the hours they are open to provide time for deep cleaning in the evenings. The company also gave franchise owners the ability to close some restaurants if another Dunkin' is located nearby.
Shares of Dunkin' plunged 17% to $51.42 a share during Monday's steep market dive. At last check the stock was 1.2% higher at $52.02.