KFC will not be making staff wear gloves amid the COVID-19 pandemic, despite irate customers’ ongoing complaints.
Customers left a number of angry posts and reviews on social media this week after noticing store-front staff continuing to work without gloves, despite the fast-food chains drastic changes in other areas, including closing in-store dining.
Now, a spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle the chain will not be backing down on their gloves policy, and that the company will be paying staff their rostered hours, even if further closures ensue.
“Gloves are worn by employees during the necessary preparation and cooking procedures including at the burger bench and when cleaning the dining room,” the spokesperson says.
“At KFC, we’re not enforcing employees to wear gloves at other stations due to the risk of these becoming dirty and creating a hot, sweaty environment for microbes to grow.”
The spokesperson explained they would stick with the stringent hand sanitisation already being enforced on staff, and added expert advice indicates gloves are a less effective measure.
“To ensure the highest levels of hygiene and food safety, which our restaurant teams already follow, we enforce frequent handwashing and use of sanitiser,” they said.
“Through working with health experts, we have identified that the frequent use of hand sanitiser is a better form of hygiene than using disposable gloves.
“We are ensuring all our restaurant teams know this and that the procedure is properly followed.”
Customers complain over lack of gloves
Some remain unconvinced however, calling on the fast-food chain to add glove-wearing to their measures.
“Surprised to see none of your staff wearing gloves like other takeaway places.,” one wrote.
“KFC [is] not taking Coronavirus very seriously at drive-through. No one is wearing gloves and no wipes given with my meal,” another wrote.
“Can I just say, Macca’s, KFC and Hungry Jacks, I’m a bit disappointed that you still use your bare hands to hand out drink straws in drive-through,” one concerned customer shared.
Others, however, have praised the chain for taking further action than many of their counterparts.
“Excellent work KFC. Great to see you doing something to look after those frontline staff,” one customer wrote at the time.
“Thank you for showing great leadership with this decision to keep staff and customers safer,” another wrote.
Major measures taken by KFC, staff pay assured
On Tuesday, March 17, the chain announced they would immediately close in-restaurant dining and offer only delivery and pick up options, as well as ramping up hand and surface sanitising efforts among staff.
They have also assured Yahoo Lifestyle that staff will not be left in the lurch if shifts are cut over the dining room shut down, or further closures need to be made.
“KFC has committed to continue paying all Permanent and Part-Time employees in the event of a restaurant closure or self-isolation for a minimum period of 14 days,” they say. “Following this period it will be reviewed on a case by case basis.”
As for casuals, legally not entitled to any sick leave, they say their existing rostered hours will be paid.
“Casual employees are legally required to be given an hours’ notice, however KFC commits to paying casuals a minimum of their next published rostered shift (as of the most current available/published roster),” they say.
McDonald’s leads the coronavirus charge
The announcement comes after McDonald’s announced their own, slightly less drastic measures on Tuesday morning.
McDonald’s tells Yahoo Lifestyle changes were in response to ‘the current environment’, though did not confirm if customer complaints drove the changes forwards.
In an announcement shared to the company’s website on Tuesday morning, CEO Andrew Gregory announced stores across the country would be introducing new contactless options for pick up and delivery.
“To ensure you have the flexibility to suit your needs, we’re introducing new contactless options to our In-restaurant, Drive-Thru and McDelivery services,” he said in a statement.
“These procedures will minimise customer and employee contact to further improve the safety of our restaurants.”
Specifically, the new in-store procedure will see crew members place bags on counters for customers to pick up, avoiding any skin to skin contact.
Customers will also be able to order and pay through the store’s MyMacca’s App, and delivery services will offer a contactless drop-off if requested.
“With more than 100,000 employees across the country, we are taking this issue seriously and will continue to respond,” the statement concluded.
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