McDonald’s franchisees weigh in on COVID changes, reopening, new development

July 30, 2020

Beginning Saturday, customers will be required to wear face coverings when entering McDonald’s restaurants – but the change won’t be felt immediately in most of the Sioux Falls area.

That’s because the dining rooms remain closed, as customers have been adapting to enhanced curbside and delivery options, franchisee Rick Lessnau said.

Any drop in business is secondary to concerns for his staff and customers, he said.

“This virus can hit anybody. That’s what worries you as an employer. You worry about it,” he said. “We do wellness checks, we take temperatures, we sanitize all our areas in our restaurants because it’s just that important. You don’t want anybody getting sick, and – knock on wood – we’ve been very lucky.”

He plans to evaluate opening inside the stores after school resumes, he said.

“Then I’ll put together a plan as to what I do for takeout,” he said, adding the corporation has been “very amenable” to allowing local decision-making on reopening.

The McDonald’s at 4903 N. Cliff Ave., which is franchised by Jordan Hartshorn, has reopened its lobby for carryout only but not dine-in service.

“It’s just to beta test how it all works and how customers respond,” Hartshorn said, adding that masks will be mandatory for those customers starting Saturday.

McDonald’s has seen a solid response to its delivery options, which include DoorDash and soon Uber Eats beginning Aug. 6., both franchisees said.

“Delivery has spiked, definitely. There’s an obvious increase in delivery and curbside as the dining room closed,” Hartshorn said. “The lion’s share of the business centered around the drive-thru. Our drive-thru has definitely increased guest transactions, and it’s helped us stay stable throughout this and keep our people employed.”

The restaurants are hiring in Sioux Falls and have shifted their approach from walk-in to online interviews.

“We’re trying to do all virtual interviews,” Lessnau said. “You hope you can get them online to do virtual interviews. But you don’t want to sit across the table from somebody, so we’re trying to do what’s best for our community, our customers and our people.”

Hartshorn likely will be the franchisee for new locations in the city, and he said he’s still committed to building where McDonald’s has been planning a store for a couple of years on Minnesota Avenue north of 85th Street.

“With COVID, it delayed a lot of projects,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out some time next year around this time frame to be open in that location.”


Want to stay in the know?

Get our free business news delivered to your inbox.

McDonald’s franchisees weigh in on COVID changes, reopening, new development

McDonald’s franchisees weigh in on business-model changes, reopening and new development.

News Tip

Have a business news item to share with us?

Scroll to top