Covid spurred more people to order food out, making delivery workers busier than ever. So Chick-fil-A has built a break room for those in New York City that will be open for a few months, offering refreshments and restrooms in between deliveries.
From February 16 through April 13, Chick-fil-A is operating a storefront on the Upper East Side open to people who have recently made a delivery for an app like DoorDash, UberEats or Grubhub.
Delivery workers — of which there are more than 65,000 in New York City — can stop by the “Brake Room” for coffee or tea or to use the restroom, especially important in a city where public bathrooms are rare. The space will be open 11 AM to 7 PM from Monday through Saturday, and closed on Sundays (just like Chick-fil-A restaurants).
The Brake Room also has outlets where people can charge their phones, couches, chairs and tables, and an indoor bike dock.
“For Chick-fil-A, the food delivery community has become an increasingly important part of each restaurant’s business,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.
It’s also a community with a difficult job, especially in cities like New York where many delivery workers use bikes to do their jobs, leaving them exposed to the elements in bad weather. In Manhattan, Chick-fil-A said, most of last year’s Chick-fil-A delivery orders were made during the winter and the company hopes the room will give workers a place to warm up and rest during the cold months.
Early in the pandemic, delivery was a lifeline for restaurants, which closed their dining rooms due to Covid-19 restrictions. Restaurants that had previously held off started offering the service, and others made their delivery offerings more robust. Now, dining rooms are back open — but customers are still interested in delivery, so many restaurants are still offering the service.
For Chick-fil-A, caring for delivery workers is also a way to protect the brand’s reputation. Chick-fil-A is meticulous about maintaining service standards, and it’s important to the brand that customers are greeted with a smile.
“The food delivery community is an extension of the same experience Chick-fil-A restaurants provide our guests, and an increasingly significant part of the business,” Joe Saracino, SVP of brand strategy, advertising and media, said in a statement. Chick-fil-A is private and doesn’t publicly share sales figures.
The city has also vowed to give delivery workers a respite.
Mayor Eric Adams in October announced an initiative that will create hubs for delivery workers, turning empty spaces like vacant newsstands into rest areas. Adams noted at the time that “while most people have a break room to rest while at work, app-based food delivery workers do not.”