Tim Hortons outlines plans for reopening dining rooms, featuring ‘possibly forever’ changes

Tim Hortons outlines plans for reopening dining rooms, featuring 'possibly forever' changes
Evan Mitsui/CBC
Restaurant Brands International, parent company to Tim Hortons, has revealed their detailed plans for reopening dining rooms amid COVID-19.

Restaurant Brands International, the parent company to Canadian favourite Tim Hortons, has revealed their detailed plans for reopening dining rooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the current health crisis, Tim Hortons – along with other Restaurant Brands International (RBI) properties such as Burger King and Popeyes – have continued to operate take-out windows, delivery services and mobile channels in an effort to continue food service to Canadians.

Now, as the country prepares to shift “from crisis mode to recovery mode” the company is preparing to reopen dining rooms and allow customers to return to eating in Tim Hortons restaurants.

The plans and the process, however, could feel very different from a typical experience prior to the current crisis.

“We believe in the power of creativity and diversity of perspectives. This means finding ways to do things differently to make them better,” reads an open letter from RBI CEO Jose Cil.

Cil acknowledged that alterations are necessary in order to adhere to advice from Canada’s health officials, while creating a safe experience for consumers.

“We have fully embraced the notion that parts of our restaurants need to change – certainly, for the foreseeable future and possibly forever,” reads the letter.

The changes outlined in his letter include things like more comfortable and reusable mandated masks that may become a permanent part of employee uniforms.

The organization said that acrylic shields and contactless services, that have already been installed at most restaurants, will remain in place while additional distancing rules will be applied to dining rooms across the country.

Tabletop signage will be used to indicate which seats are open and which ones are reserved for maintaining adequate distance from other guests, said Cil.

According to the open letter, tables and chairs will be sanitized after each use and hand sanitizer will be made publically available in the dining areas. Self-serve beverage stations, condiment stations, and tray stations will all be blocked off in the dining areas as well, requiring guests to have them served from behind the service counters.

Cil outlines that new, rigorous training programs are being implemented across Canada to help ensure a unified health and safety understanding among all staff members.

During the pandemic, mandatory temperature checks prior to employees starting their shift were put in motion and those are expected to continue as well for the foreseeable future.

“As we read all the stories about our communities re-opening, all of the focus is understandably on ways to continue to keep us apart. But one of the most normal things in our lives is coming together. And that often includes sitting down with your family or friends and enjoying a meal together at a restaurant,” reads the open letter from Cil.

Despite planning on reopening the dining rooms at Tim Hortons, the organization will continue to focus on delivery apps, mobile order-and-pay and curbside pick-ups in order to allow for more contactless experiences.

Dining rooms have been closed by the coffee giant since the middle of March.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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