A similar trend is forming on the quick-service side as well. McDonald’s said it will provide four hours of pay for workers at company-run stores and corporate employees. Shake Shack said it will offer employees three hours of PTO for each dose, for a total of six hours.
Yum! Brands—owner of Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell—and Chipotle confirmed to CNBC it won’t mandate vaccinations for employees. Starbucks, which is lending employees to assist Washington State in distributing the vaccine, told the outlet that it hasn’t made a decision yet.
Manny Hilario, CEO of The ONE Group (STK Steakhouse and Kona Grill), says his brand will “look toward more direction from the CDC and other bodies that are smarter on the health component of this than we are.”
“Because to me, that’s going to be the ultimate answer to what exactly is going to be the expectation society-wide in terms of when people take it and what happens there,” Hilario says. “So we definitely have to get direction.”
Hilario adds safety is The One Group’s top priority. The company even has a committee that meets nearly every day to sift through all the health issues in today’s environment. Because safety is such a paramount area, the CEO says restaurants will apply whatever is best practice and always “err on the side of doing what is best and most safe for everybody.”
But at this point, he explains, it’s difficult to give specific guidance until all the issues are sorted by health officials.
“When the vaccine plays out, and we know more about that, we’ll follow the direction of the health authorities,” Hilario says.
Yavonne Sarber, co-founder of taco, bourbon, and tequila concept Agave & Rye, says her chain will not mandate vaccinations at any point. The full-service brand consists of six stores across Kentucky and Ohio, with six more on the way in 2021.
Sarber says her company will take the same approach it does with anything that’s optional.
“While we're going to definitely recommend the CDC recommendations and even recommend the vaccine, by no means will we fully ever mandate them doing it with this or any other things that we have the option of mandating,” Sarber says. “We feel as though employees have the right to do what they want to do with their body, and we're not going to tell them what to do.”
Gary Cohen, executive vice president of 38-unit Glory Days Grill, says he can’t give a direct answer yet on whether the sports bar concept will mandate vaccines. His indirect response is that his brand is in a “wait and see” approach. He personally thinks there’s so much pent-up demand for the vaccine that when it’s time for restaurants to get in line, the company won’t have to mandate it.