President Trump calls meeting with top restaurant chain leaders to discuss COVID-19 response

CEOs and presidents of Domino’s, Yum Brands, McDonald’s, Wendy's join a call as industry faces crippling losses tied to temporary closures and reduced services


Nancy Luna, Nation's Restaurant News

Mar 17, 2020


President Trump called top U.S. restaurant chain leaders Tuesday to discuss the industry’s response to COVID-19 and thanked them for playing a crucial role in stemming the spread of coronavirus by pivoting to off-premise operations.


David Gibbs, CEO of the world’s largest quick service company Yum Brands, was on the call. The Louisville, Ky.-based company owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC.


The White House briefing with Trump included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as well as Domino’s CEO Richard Allison and Wendy’s President and CEO Todd Penegor.


"It was a very productive meeting and David [Gibbs] was encouraged by how much the discussion this morning aligns with Yum! Brands’ and the restaurant industry’s interest in continuing to support delivery, carryout and drive-through, which is an important way to make food available safely and with low contact in a social distancing environment,” Yum said in a statement sent to Nation’s Restaurant News.


Yum said it is “monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely, supporting our franchisees, thinking ahead and making sure we have the best plans in place to protect our people and customers as their health and safety is our number one priority.”


During the brief call, Trump showed support for the restaurant industry for not only feeding people but in also keeping people employed during the COVID-19 crisis. The president also thanked chains who are providing drive-thru, carryout and delivery services.


As reported by NRN, thousands of limited-service restaurants across the U.S. are moving to a “to-go” model of service. That includes serving customers through carryout, delivery and drive-thru lanes. Most of the top restaurants chains have closed dining rooms including McDonald’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ and Wendy’s.


Casual-dining restaurants are also emphasizing delivery and carryout.


In a statement about the Trump briefing, Wendy’s said: