Companies

McDonald’s franchisee Hardcastle Restaurants looks to ramp up dine-in operations as lockdown lifts

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani Meenakshi Verma Ambwani | Updated on June 16, 2020 Published on June 16, 2020

Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt Ltd, which operates McDonald's-branded restaurants in the southern and western region, is focusing on ramping up its dine-in operations, after the Central and State governments relaxed lockdown norms.

Smita Jatia, MD, Hardcastle Restaurants, said, “Our restaurants are re-opening as red zones change to green zones and local level authorities are easing lockdown norms across cities in different phases. We aim to have 84 per cent of our stores operational by the end of the month and 50 per cent of our 319 stores will begin offering dine-in services, in line with government norms.” So far, about 219 restaurants of the company are operational and over 100 of them have begun offering dine-in services.

The company was one of the first few players to launch contactless delivery in March, as the pandemic hit the country. As it begins dine-in services, the company has adopted a 42-point checklist of enhanced hygiene and safety protocols. The company said standards for safety and hygiene have also been further heightened at the supplier level and it has trained its staff on enhanced safety protocols.

Jatia said even during pre-Covid, delivery, takeaway and drive-thru channels were contributing nearly 50 per cent to the company's business and their adoption has now got accelerated further. The company said that its witnessing demand across its 70 drive-thru outlets as lockdown got lifted. “As colleges and offices open up, consumers will look for a safe space to socialise and have value-for-money meals. I believe branded QSR brands such as McDonald's are well-placed to meet these evolving needs of the consumers,” she added.

The company has also begun offering “on-the-go service” to deliver orders to the consumers’ car, popularly known as the curbside deliveries in international markets.

Since the pandemic hit the country, the company has been re-looking at its cost structures. “In the past few weeks, we have been focusing on conserving cash and looked at all our costs with a fine-tooth comb. We also engaged with our suppliers and vendors on how they can improve cost-efficiencies .We are also leveraging our long-term lease partnerships with our landlords to ensure a win-win solution for both to navigate this crisis,” she added

Replying to a query on any plans to add new stores, Jatia said, “We will look at adding new stores once we witness some stability in macro-economic conditions. Some of our new stores, which were ready, couldn’t open due to the pandemic outbreak.”

 

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Published on June 16, 2020
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