Coronavirus: queues, long waits and traffic management as Kiwis race for fast food


Whether it’s McDonald’s, KFC or fish and chips, Kiwis flocked to their local fast food outlets on Tuesday as Alert Level 3 saw restrictions loosen slightly.

Queues lined with roads, streets and even spilled over into bus lanes and people across the country patiently waited to get their hands on greasy food for the first time in nearly five weeks.

In Christchurch, a resident said he even visited five different McDonald’s restaurants before moving to one in Woolston because it had the smallest line.

There, Ben Marsh ordered eight cheeseburgers, five big macs, as well as a few double quarter-pounders. The $ 113 fast food was shared with her roommate Wallace Osborn.

Queues for McDonald's in Eastgate, Christchurch.  Photo: Alden Williams / Stuff

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Queues for McDonald’s in Eastgate, Christchurch. Photo: Alden Williams / Stuff

Lines of cars in drive-ins were spotted throughout the day; morning, noon and even dinner.

As of Tuesday evening, around 40 cars were lined up at each of the nearby McDonald’s and KFCs on Linwood Ave in Linwood, Christchurch. The wait for food was over 45 minutes.

During the day, city council even had to deal with traffic management at two McDonald’s restaurants due to long lines.

Cathie Bills, customer of Gourmet Seafoods Shirley.  Photo: Alden Williams / Stuff

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Cathie Bills, customer of Gourmet Seafoods Shirley. Photo: Alden Williams / Stuff

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A queue of over 25 cars has been spotted winding through the parking lot and down the street from McDonald’s Ferry Rd in Woolston.

In Wellington, a queue for Newtown’s McDonald’s stretched along the road and in a reserved bus lane.

In Hamilton, 24 cars lined up at KFC Ulster St around noon after the restaurant opened.

Lines of cars at Napier and Taradale McDonlads as people line up for their first take-out after level 4 lockdown. Photo: John Cowpland / Alphapix.

John Cowpland / alphapix

Lines of cars at Napier and Taradale McDonlads as people line up for their first take-out after level 4 lockdown. Photo: John Cowpland / Alphapix.

On the main street of Whangārei, traffic management also had to be implemented on the 100m stretch of road between McDonald’s and KFC on Tuesday afternoon.

A dedicated McDonald’s drive-thru lane was closed, while an entrance on KFC Street, Gray St, was closed.

Angel Ihaka visited McDonald’s twice on Tuesday. She said her kids were asleep when she first went there, and when she got home they wanted some too.

Ihaka said watching the people line up was “entertaining” and worth the wait.

The KFC in Ulster St, Hamilton at 1 p.m. when it opened - 24 cars waiting and counting

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The KFC in Ulster St, Hamilton at 1 p.m. when it opened – 24 cars waiting and counting

At Auckland’s Quay St McDonald’s, students Richard Aleni and Andy Vaái were all smiles on Tuesday as they stepped out with their back seats fully occupied by four ShareBoxes.

In total, their transport brought in 16 burgers, including Big Macs, McChickens and Quarter Pounders, as well as fries and drinks.

Hospitality NZ General Manager Julie White said she was “not surprised” by the lines at McDonald’s as it already had a take-out model in place, unlike most businesses. local.

White said it was “fundamental” for people to support local businesses whenever they could, adding that this was really important because it would save jobs.

New Plymouth traffic chaos as everyone gets their fix of McDonald's.  Photo: Simon O'Connor / Stuff

Simon O’Connor / Tips

New Plymouth traffic chaos as everyone gets their fix of McDonald’s. Photo: Simon O’Connor / Stuff

“Stay local, eat local,” she said. She believed that only 10% of the hospitality industry would open below level 3 and the measures in place on businesses were “very prohibitive”.

“It just doesn’t work for the majority of people hospitalized.”

She also believed that local businesses opening below level 3 were taking a risk because of the “unknown quantum” in the number of customers who would come to pick up or be delivered.

Cars lined up early in the morning at McDonalds East Gate during the first day of COVID-19 Level 3. CHRIS SKELTON / STUFF

Chris Skelton / Stuff

Cars lined up early in the morning at McDonalds East Gate during the first day of COVID-19 Level 3. CHRIS SKELTON / STUFF

McDonald’s has published a limited menu.

The “favorites” are in the foreground: the Big Mac, the cheeseburger (in all its variations), the McChicken and Fillet-O-Fish, the Quarter Pounder and the McNuggets will be available, as will the breakfast menu.

Bailey Johnston, Chloe Kinsman and Shayle Haumu line up at 4:45 am for the opening of McDonald's in Timaru.

John Bisset / Stuff

Bailey Johnston, Chloe Kinsman and Shayle Haumu line up at 4:45 am for the opening of McDonald’s in Timaru.

Only Hot Buns, Bacon and Egg McMuffins, Chicken (and Bacon) McMuffins, and Hash Browns will be available as breakfast all day. For New York bagel, McMuffin sausage, and Massic McMuffin appetite suppressant, you’ll need to get in before 10:30 am like the good old days.

As for what you can’t get, shakes, sundaes, McFlurries, and frozen cokes are off the list for opening day. “We are still awaiting shipments of our shake and sundae mixes,” McDonald’s spokesperson Simon Kenny said.

The line at Quay St McDonald's in Auckland shortly after 8:30 a.m.

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The line at Quay St McDonald’s in Auckland shortly after 8:30 a.m.

But he expected them to arrive on Wednesday or Thursday.

The other key category to drop from the limited menu is the gourmet creative burgers, including Almighty Angus and Chicken Bacon Deluxe. “The burgers that have the different patties and the different buns were left out because we prioritized our bakery and our patty supplier to get the basic buns and burgers. They had to speed up for us. restock, ”Kenny mentioned.

The first eaters at McDonald's Timaru.

John Bisset / Stuff

The first eaters at McDonald’s Timaru.

McDonald’s expected staff to hand over food, cash and customer receipts when it reopens below Level 3, which will be a violation of Covid-19 risk mitigation rules, according to a union.

Unite Union National Director Mike Treen said a draft Level 3 plan sent to the union by McDonald’s appeared to violate Alert Level 3 settings and public health requirements.

Training materials given to staff tell them to pass the product directly to customers in driveways at a distance of less than two meters and require them to handle money, he said.

Shayle Haumu gets the first post-containment burger at McDonald's Timaru.

John Bisset / Stuff

Shayle Haumu gets the first post-containment burger at McDonald’s Timaru.

McDonald’s spokesman Simon Kenny said his number one priority when reopening was the safety of staff and customers.

“We sought advice through official government channels and asked third-party auditors to review our plans,” Kenny said.

Last week, the fast food giant invited Unite Union to observe its changes in person but had received no response.

Cash would not be processed at the same counter as food was distributed, he said.

New protective screens would be placed around the windows, he said.

“As with everyone, we are working in a real-world situation and will continue to seek expert advice to ensure that we have interpreted the Alert Level 3 advice correctly.”

Liam Cummings and Brendan Walford get their fix of mocha at McDonald's in Tahunanui, Nelson on day one of level 3.

BRADEN FASTIER / NELSON MAIL / Tips

Liam Cummings and Brendan Walford get their fix of mocha at McDonald’s in Tahunanui, Nelson on day one of level 3.

A McDonald’s driving instruction document, provided to the media by the union, says staff must take cash notes on the other end that the customer holds.

“Accept the coins by holding your hand under the customer’s hand, avoiding direct contact,” he says.

“When giving change, hold the bills at one end and hand them to the customer. For coins, place them responsibly in the palm of the customer’s hand. “

Lynnette Formward (left) and Lynne Bary enjoy their first level 3 coffee at Raglan Roast in Tahunanui, Nelson.

BRADEN FASTIER / NELSON MAIL / Tips

Lynnette Formward (left) and Lynne Bary enjoy their first level 3 coffee at Raglan Roast in Tahunanui, Nelson.

The queue at McDonald’s Tahunanui, Nelson, only had three cars at 9am, so it didn’t take long for scaffolders Liam Cumming and Brendan Walford to grab a few mokas.

Walford said his house looked “too clean” after four weeks of Level 4 lockdown, and that he was ready to resume his scaffolding work.

Lynnette Formward and Lynne Bary stopped for coffee at Tahunanui’s Raglan Roast Cafe before pedaling through downtown Nelson. Bary, a nurse, had taken a day off to make the most of the first day of Level 3. Formward was eager to see people riding his regular bike path.

By 9:30 a.m., Sands Fish & Chip Shop co-owner Roy Gray had already answered 60 calls all asking for the same thing. “Are you open today?” The answer is yes, and Gray expects to fill around 300 orders on Tuesday.


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