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Things You'll Never See in Fast Food Restaurants Ever Again

It's possible that, once the shelter-in-place order lifts, you won't be able to find these items in popular chains.
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The way we go out to eat will have to change for many months once the mandated quarantine lifts in an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus. In fact, there are many things you might notice restaurants, both sit-down and fast-casual alike, will remove once they reopen.

While there is no evidence suggesting that these items will no longer be in fast food restaurants' dining spaces, we're predicting that they will be temporarily removed based on the little we do know about how the virus spreads between person to person.

Now, here are seven things we speculate you won't be seeing in fast food restaurants anytime soon.

1

No more new self-service kiosks

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Prior to the pandemic, self-service kiosks were starting to pop up in a lot of popular fast food restaurant chains, however, that may be subject to change in the coming months. We're certainly not suggesting that you won't see self-service kiosks anymore, but it's likely that—until we learn more about the coronavirus—you won't see any new self-service kiosks pop up at your favorite fast food restaurants.

While it's not yet clear if the coronavirus is transmissible through objects, evidence would suggest that you could contract it through something like a self-service kiosk. For example, if someone who has the virus (or is a carrier of it) expells infectious respiratory droplets either by coughing or sneezing onto the touch screen monitor, that could potentially expose the next person in line to the virus.

Cedrina Calder, MD and Preventive Medicine Doctor, had told Eat This, Not That! before that, "it is possible that you could get COVID-19 by touching surfaces or objects where the droplets have landed and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes."

2

No more sauce dispensers

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Ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise dispensers may become a distant memory in future months. Why? Think about how many people touch those handles in a single day? Restaurants will already be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting tabletops, booths, and other common touchpoints in the facility, so it's unlikely they'll have the bandwidth to also regularly clean the dispensers.

READ MORE: Click here for all of our latest coronavirus coverage.

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3

No more napkin dispensers

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Napkin dispensers are quite common in diners and fast food restaurants, however, until we get a vaccine, it's very plausible that we won't see them on dining tables for a while. Many napkin dispensers are made of metal or plastic, and research has found that the virus can exist on both stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to three days, though it isn't yet clear that if it remains infectious for that long.

4

No more play areas that are open all day

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David Tonelson/Shutterstock

One of the first things to close in mid-March at McDonald's was the play areas for children. It is highly likely that those areas will only be open for limited times during the week as staff will have to be responsible for wiping touchpoints down regularly.

5

No more crowded lines

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Another thing you won't be seeing at McDonald's again are crowded lines in front of the cash registers or at the pickup counter. In Arnhem, Netherlands the company is currently testing out a new anti-virus restaurant design, and one suggested solution for eliminating lines is table service. Employees would roll orders to customers at tables and booths by way of a trolley, which would also ensure contact-less delivery.

6

No more bare floors without designated waiting spots

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Another way to prevent long lines from forming in fast food restaurants will be the addition of designated waiting spots with floor marking tape. These will likely be on the sidewalks outside of restaurants, as well.

7

No more employees without gloves

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This will likely be the case for any restaurant, from a fast-casual place such as Waffle House to a fast food joint like Burger King, employees will more than likely be required to wear gloves at all times. Speaking of, here are 7 things you'll never see at McDonald's ever again, too.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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