As the adoption of Covid vaccines gains momentum across the country, restaurants are weighing options to encourage workers to get the vaccine.
Foodservice workers are recommended who should be vaccinated when supplies are limited in Phase 1 (c) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention List, and are right behind high-risk healthcare workers, the elderly and key workers at the forefront. The National Restaurant Association requested priority for those working in food service after first responders and the most at risk.
“Prioritizing testing and vaccine distribution will help secure the food supply chain for our communities and ensure that agricultural and restaurant workers can safely sell and serve healthy food,” said Sean Kennedy, an industry group spokesman, in a statement to CNBC. “The association continues to work with the administration to plan vaccine distribution, and the state restaurant associations are working to ensure that restaurant workers continue to be seen as essential to food security and prioritized in their state vaccine rollout plans.”
Starbucks offers logistical support
Starbucks announced a partnership with its home state of Washington last week to accelerate vaccine adoption. The coffee giant aims to help the state get 45,000 shots a day by employing 11 people who specialize in labor and use, operations, and research and development to work full-time on vaccine distribution, NBC News first reported.
In a recent interview with CNBC, Starbucks chief operating officer Roz Brewer said the company has not yet made a decision on vaccine mandates for partners or guests.
“We will do everything we can to influence and improve the distribution and implementation of the vaccination process. And that is it [what is] The most important thing is to get the entire community vaccinated, “Brewer said.” To make sure everyone understands how important this is. “
Large restaurant companies are considering the next steps when it comes to employees.
Both Chipotle and Yum! Brands told CNBC they won’t mandate vaccinations for workers. Chipotle says it will heavily promote vaccinations by providing resources and access to workers, and Yum! said it does not anticipate such a mandate at the time.
Companies like McDonald’s, Restaurant Brands International, Dunkin ‘Brands, and Papa John’s, all of which have a large franchisee footprint, have yet to take a public stance on employees or franchisees. Domino has told CNBC that there is a team working on the issue, but they also don’t have a public position yet. Once one is set up, it is said to be shared with the franchisees.
‘The Greater Good’
Franchisees and franchisors can generally require workers to be vaccinated with certain exceptions, according to Jim Paretti, a shareholder in Littler Mendelson’s Workplace Policy Institute, which focuses on labor law.
However, it is unlikely that a franchise will suggest anything more than suggesting that restaurant owners are following certain guidelines, as litigation continues over the joint employer rule, which is still being fought in court. The rule that an employee of one company can also be considered an employee of another company could change under the new administration.
McDonald’s had a huge hit in 2019 when the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the company was not responsible for actions taken at its franchise locations, meaning it is not a joint employer with its franchisees. The industry continues to observe this.
“That’s the thing that is likely to drive franchisors to act cautiously and do things related to guidance, recommendations, suggestions, and resources for franchisees rather than giving directions from on high,” Paretti said.
At Amel Morris’ pizzeria, Lefty’s Place in Morgantown, West Virginia, the focus is on getting the vaccine and moving forward. The small restaurant only has six employees, and Morris said he had no plans to require vaccinations but he was willing to make it easier for workers to access them.
“Everyone wants to get the vaccine. If they needed time off, we would get coverage so they can get it. Some of them don’t have a car, so we would drive them there,” said Morris. “It’s supposed to help the common good, get more people to get it and hopefully get everyone back to normal.”
“If it took $ 50 to get someone to do it, I’ll bring them some money if that’s the push that is needed in that direction.”