Coronavirus News

Plano-based Pizza Hut deploys COVID-19 measures and silly tamper-proof seals

Plano-based Pizza Hut deploys COVID-19 measures and tamper-proof seals

Pizza Hut
Does that seal make you feel good? Photo courtesy of Pizza Hut

National pizza chain Pizza Hut has installed a new set of health and safety measures designed to counteract the spread of the coronavirus, including contactless curbside pickup, masks, and gloves.

A release says that the brand is helping to "ensure that team members and guests feel safe, valued, and cared for during this critical time." Pin that thought.

The release says that more than 60 percent of online delivery orders are now via contact-less delivery, for customers who don't want to get out of their car. Their three contact-less options include curbside pickup, delivery, or carryout.

To request curbside pickup, you check the "contact-less curbside" box at checkout on the website and app (or, if you're an older person, you can ask a team member over the "phone").

You pre-pay using a credit/debit card and tell them the make/color of your car. A gloved team member brings out your pizza and places it in your car.

As with all orders, Pizza Hut's process requires that once your pizza leaves Pizza Hut's 400+ degree oven, it slides hands-free into the box without anyone touching the pizza until you open the box at home.

Lots of disposables
Pizza Hut is also making certain personal protective equipment (PPE) available to franchisees, team members, and franchisee team members, including:

  • Masks – Over 10 million non-surgical grade masks will be available for in-restaurant team members at restaurants across the country over the coming weeks. Masks have already been deployed to Pizza Hut restaurants located in hot zones around the country, and additional supply will start arriving for use by Pizza Hut team members at other restaurants beginning April 20.
  • Team Member Temperature Checks – Temperature check procedures will be communicated as thermometers become available in the coming weeks.
  • Counter Shields – Clear protective shields will be available for restaurants to install at the front counter to add a barrier between team members and customers, providing an extra layer of protection for contactless carryout orders.
  • Single-Use Disposable Gloves – All guest-facing restaurant team members are advised to wear single-use, disposable gloves during their shifts, in addition to team members who wear gloves when handling and preparing food after they've thoroughly washed and sanitized their hands.
  • Social Distancing Reminders – Signage is available to be placed in the restaurant and back of house to remind and encourage social distancing procedures for both customers and team members.

Tamper proof seal
Those items are all pretty typical precaution stuff but this one is a head-scratcher: They're adding "tamper proof safety seals" applied to all Medium and Large pizza boxes, as well as all Dinner Box, Big Dinner Box, and Big Dipper orders.

The new safety seal must be broken by the customer in order to access the food inside. The release says that the new safety seals "will help give customers confidence that their food was not touched after leaving the oven."

A representative from the company says that the safety seal has security cuts and a center perforation that make it difficult to remove without damaging or destroying the safety seal.

Of all the dumb feelgood things. How is this coronavirus-related? Prior to COVID-19, was the food touched after leaving the oven? And who's to say that someone didn't just touch your dang pizza and then stick the seal on? A seal represents no guarantee of anything. What a waste of plastic to "ensure that guests feel safe, valued, and cared for during this critical time."

They need to 'fess up: It's really just to ensure that people won't binge-eat their pizza on the way home.

"The health and safety of our team members, customers and the communities we serve remains our top priority," said Nicolas Burquier, Chief Customer and Operations Officer, Pizza Hut. "We understand people trust us to provide safe, fast and reliable food to feed them and their families. We take that responsibility very seriously and these new measures are reaffirmation of that mentality."

But props to the company for donating 250,000 personal pan pizzas and $500,000 in grants to educators through its nonprofit partner, First Book. The initiative provides meals to students that typically rely on reduced price lunch and puts books in the hands of kids currently out of school.