The Dawn Meats plant ceased production for McDonald’s on the 18 March, with 50 affected employees being redeployed to other parts its business to cater for the increased demand from Irish retail customers and a surge in online meat sales. The McDonald’s sites had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
These team members will now return to the McDonald’s plant in accordance with enhanced protocols, allowing production to recommence smoothly to meet the required demand as McDonald’s restaurants begin the re-opening process both in Ireland and across other European markets.
The fast food operator announced that it has re-opened 39 Drive-Thru sites in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The sites were chosen based on their proximity to distribution centres.
We are reopening 39 Drive Thru lanes across the UK and ROI. These Drive Thru pilot restaurants were all chosen as they are close to one of our distribution centres as we continue to prepare our supply chain for reopening. pic.twitter.com/HqvctFo63k— McDonald's UK (@McDonaldsUK) May 20, 2020
Dawn Meats said it has introduced “a comprehensive range of measures to ensure social distancing and a safe production environment is maintained at all times”. This includes enhanced cleaning of contact surfaces and communal areas, installation of protective perspex screens and issuance of visors for use by staff.
CEO Niall Browne said: “The reopening of Carroll’s Cross is great news for staff and our supplier farmers, and an important confidence boost for all who have been affected by the closure of restaurants and the loss of the associated production. We are particularly pleased that we have been able to maintain secure employment for all staff, thereby ensuring our ability to swiftly restart production as restaurants reopen on a phased basis as planned.”
Dawn Meats’ online retail division, Premium Butcher, has also reported a trebling of orders between March and April. The business shifted its resources towards online following the closure of food service outlets in Ireland in March.
Browne added: “We’re really pleased that we can continue to offer the type of premium produce usually sold in restaurants to consumers so it can be enjoyed at home. It was a logical step that we introduce home delivery once the seriousness of Covid-19 became clear, particularly as it provides an important route to market for our farmer suppliers. The quality and range on offer brings restaurant level produce to the home kitchen and we’re looking forward to expanding the range, including our exclusive dry aged Vintage Reserve beef over the coming weeks.”
Head of sales for The Premium Butcher Neil Lanigan said: “We’re working with our delivery partners DPD to ensure that deliveries are both reliable and safe. Our next-day nationwide delivery has proven very popular and with large cuts of meat available as well as specially created variety packs, it allows families to plan meals in advance. All our produce is vacuum packed for delivery, both for safety in transit but also to lock in flavour and allow for easy storage.”