Restaurants adapting to COVID-19 policies by offering deals and promotions

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In this January 17 photo, people eat at the Hut in Provo. The Hut is currently closed to dine-in customers but is still offering curbside and pickup. (Hannah Miner)

Many restaurants have provided incentives for customers to purchase food by offering discounts to menu items and/or free delivery as a way to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

These restrictions include Gov. Gary Herbert’s announcement on March 17 that all Utah restaurants would suspend dine-in operations.

Here’s what some chain restaurants are offering customers.

Burger King: Orders $10 and up are eligible for free delivery.

Cafe Rio: Curbside pickup or free delivery through Door Dash and Postmates is available.

Chipotle: Orders $10 and up are eligible for free delivery through the end of the month. Through May 31, customers can purchase a Healthcare Heroes egift card, and Chipotle will match 10% and donate to Direct Relief.

Krispy Kreme: On March 26, Krispy Kreme rolled out #BeSweetSaturdays. Every Saturday, with the purchase of a dozen Original Glazed doughnuts, buyers will get another dozen. Krispy Kreme also has a sweet deal for healthcare pros — every Monday through May 11, workers get a free dozen doughnuts.

Olive Garden: Customers can purchase two meals for the price of one ($12.99) with Olive Garden’s “Take One, Take One ToGo” deal.

Little Caesars: Customers can “Pie It Forward” by donating a pizza to local hospitals and police and fire departments.

Subway: Customers can receive a free footlong for every two footlongs bought.

Taco Bell: Through April 30, all orders $12 are eligible for free delivery via Grubhub.

Wendy’s: Customers can receive a free Jr. Frosty with every drive-through order, and a free Breakfast Baconator with any breakfast purchase through a mobile order.

7-Eleven: Through April 30, all orders placed on the 7NOW app are eligible for free delivery.

The websites curbsideutah.com and supportutahrestaurants.com contain more information on restaurants that are offering curbside, takeout and delivery.

Gov. Herbert has encouraged Utahns to continue to support local businesses by ordering food from restaurants.

“In making these decisions, we still strongly recommend that Utahns buy local, eat local and support local businesses at this time, in whatever way they can, and within these guidelines. Our local restaurants are great sources of nutritious, secure and delicious meals,” he said in a tweet.

Melva Sine, CEO of the Utah Restaurant Association, has seen first hand the aftermath COVID-19 is having on restaurants.

“Everybody is struggling, and everybody is working very, very diligently to survive and be able to move on to the next level and get past this,” Sine said.

Sine added that most restaurants have had to cut back on employees in order to keep their businesses running. “It’s been a major restructuring,” she said.

Despite the difficulties, Sine complimented those in the restaurant industry, saying they have adapted quickly and implemented measures to ensure the safety of their customers.

“They’ve enhanced their safety procedures for handwashing and sanitizing and doing all of those things to make sure that they’re wiping down surfaces — even more often than what they’re required to do — just to make sure that they can assure the public that they’re taking every possible precaution to make sure that people can enjoy a restaurant meal,” she said.

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