As the adoption of Covid vaccines gains momentum across the country, restaurants are weighing options to encourage workers to get the vaccine.
Foodservice employees are recommended in Phase 1 (c) of the List of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which specifies who should be vaccinated if there are limited supplies. The National Restaurant Association requested priority for those working in the food service after first responders and the most vulnerable.
“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 in planning vaccine distribution, and the state restaurant associations are working to ensure that restaurant workers continue to be seen as essential to food security and a priority in their state vaccine rollout plans.”
Starbucks offers logistical support
Starbucks last week announced a partnership with its home state, Washington, 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 the meaning of it. “
Large restaurant companies are evaluating 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 greatly 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 presence, have yet to take a public stance on employees or franchisees. Domino has told CNBC that there is a team looking into 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 directing from above,” Paretti said.
At Amel Morris’ Lefty’s Place pizzeria 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.
“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’d 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.”