Prioritizing customer service throughout the pandemic

Key takeaways from conversations with LP experts at Domino’s, Dunkin’ and McDonald’s

Customer service has always been a priority in the fast-food industry; however, 2020 has made it more important than ever. During NRF PROTECT ALL ACCESS, loss prevention experts at McDonalds, Dunkin’ and Domino’s talked about ways they had to adapt this year to keep customers and workers safe from both COVID-19 and workplace violence.

Both Van Carney, national director of safety, security and loss prevention with Domino’s Pizza, and David Johnston, senior director of loss prevention and corporate security at Dunkin' Brands, had to ensure their teams and customers were protected. At Domino’s, services such as contactless delivery and drive-throughs were implemented to limit exposure as much as possible. Carney’s team kept track of areas in the country with spiking infections in order to implement extra precautions to keep their employees safe.

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At Dunkin, corporate ensured that franchisees had all the necessary PPE for team members and kept them informed on city mandates and government stimulus programs. Johnston said for the first time in history, all three corporate crisis teams were deployed in order to ensure the safety of everyone going in and out of stores.

While McDonald’s was experiencing the same level of safety concerns with COVID-19, Field Security Manager Hugo Cortez was also figuring out ways to manage customers’ flared tempers and an uptick in panhandling and loitering. Both the stress of the pandemic and a plethora of COVID-19 related conspiracies have increased escalation, leading to physical violence, vandalism and property-related crime.

McDonald’s was already big on training, and it began to heavily push workplace violence training, including a seven-module program that teaches employees how to avoid conflict and approach situations in non-aggressive manners. Other tactics such as site surveys to gauge vulnerable areas, magnetic locks, sprinklers and signage prohibiting loitering and panhandling have been implemented to keep unwanted visitors away, which helps decrease vandalism and violence.

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