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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated trends in the fast food, giving franchises that stayed open a new leg up over their dine-in competition.

Why it matters: Social distancing was a seismic event for customer behavior prompting rapid changes from some American classics.

The big picture: Drive-through and advance ordering have higher margins for restaurants, with a side benefit of luring more customers, the WSJ reports.

  • "Franchisees can reduce labor costs by operating stores without the usual dine-in service."
  • "While urban locations are suffering, suburban stores with drive-through service are seeing massive increase in demand."
  • Starbucks is planning to build more locations in urban areas designed specifically for takeout and advance ordering."

Efficiency plays a big role...

  • Chains are reducing menu options, closing dining rooms and offering better deals.
  • McDonald's has cut 25 seconds off its average drive-through wait time, its CEO said last week.

Between the lines: This is also a moment when other food chains, including grocery stores, are looking to chip away at the power of delivery services.

  • Kroger and Albertsons are among the grocers that are willing to do the shopping for customers, with no fees for pickup.

The bottom line: Necessity and competition have spurred a solid 5 years or more of innovation in about 4 months.

Go deeper

Pence to hold campaign rally in Arizona

Vice President Mike Pence at a MAGA rally in Gilford, NH on Sept. 22. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence will hold a MAGA rally in Peoria, Arizona next Thursday, following the campaign's plan to keep the VP on the road after President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

Why it matters: Pence, who tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday and reportedly again on Saturday, will likely be speaking to a large crowd that will not be socially distanced unless new guidelines are issued.

Updated Nov 9, 2020 - Health

23 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

23 states set new highs last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project (CTP) and state health departments. 15 states surpassed records from the previous week.

Why it matters: More states across the country are handling record-high caseloads than this summer.

Oct 2, 2020 - World

Australia and New Zealand to open "safe travel zone"

Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Sydney, Australia, in February. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand have agreed to "safe travel zone" plan that will be gradually rolled out, Australian Deputy PM Michael McCormack announced Friday.

Details: McCormack said the travel "bubble" will initially see Kiwis who aren't in a COVID-19 hot spot permitted to fly to New South Wales and the Northern Territory from Oct. 16 without mandatory quarantine. But NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has made clear that Kiwis will have to go into quarantine upon their return.