By Nivedita Balu
(Reuters) - McDonald's Corp <MCD.N> said on Wednesday it would temporarily remove some items from its U.S. menu as it focuses on simplifying operations in the face of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.
Restaurants in the United States have been forced to either shut doors or limit service to delivery and takeaway, pressuring operators that are struggling with staffing and plunging traffic, among other issues.
"To simplify operations in our kitchens and for our crew ... we are working with our franchisees and local restaurants to focus on serving our most popular choices and will begin temporarily removing some items from the menu over the next few weeks," said Bill Garrett, senior vice president of operations for McDonald's USA in a statement to Reuters.
The world's largest burger chain, McDonald's, was also considering deferring rent and service fees for its franchisees, who operate a majority of the company's restaurants in the United States.
The U.S. restaurant industry is likely to be among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as scared customers cook at home instead of dining out and governments force restaurants to shut dining rooms and switch to drive-thru, delivery and take-out only.
McDonald's, along with peers Yum! Brands Inc's KFC fried chicken chain and Subway sandwich shops, has also closed all locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland to contain the virus' spread.
In the past, McDonald's has discontinued a line of crafted burgers that came with unique ingredients to speed up service at the chain's drive-thru windows.
It has also routinely cut fees during major business disruptions, like a natural disaster or highway construction outside a restaurant.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)