Pizza Hut customers would be able to have toiletries, grocery items and basic medicine delivered to their door if the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically worsened.
Toilet paper, nappies, toothpaste, baked beans, instant noodles, rice and possibly Panadol would be on the menu.
While the fast food giant stresses it has a not launched the scheme – and hopes it never has to – the capacity is there within its existing delivery systems.
Dubbed ‘Helping Hands Essentials’, the initiative would be aimed at assisting vulnerable members of society who have difficulty getting out to the shops.
Pizza Hut chief executive officer Phil Reed told Daily Mail Australia he had trialled Helping Hands Essentials and it could be rolled out quickly if necessary.
‘If things get really, really tough we have been working with the authorities to ensure that we can provide support to the elderly and vulnerable in society,’ he said.
‘It’s not running yet but if I need to click it on and there’s a community which needs help, we’ll do it.
‘It is absolutely crucial that we are able to continue to serve in the communities where we can provide support.’
Mr Reed said Pizza Hut was one of the only businesses in Australia with dedicated delivery riders and digital communications and a logistics system to support such a scheme.
‘Equally, in moments of national emergency, we have the capability to mobilise and produce a huge amount of carbs and protein, directing support right where it matters.’
‘Our restaurants are uniquely positioned to provide support where it is needed while obtaining accurate intelligence from the field.’
Victoria’s premier Dan Andrews declared a state of disaster after 671 new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Sunday, putting Melbourne under a curfew of 8pm until 5am.
A further 429 new Victorian cases and 13 deaths from COVID-19 were announced on Monday.
New South Wales, where fears are held for a second wave of coronavirus like that seen in Victoria, recorded 13 new cases on Monday, two days after the state had its first fatality since late May.
Mr Reed said Helping Hands Essentials, if implemented, would utilise Pizza Hut’s existing nationwide home delivery infrastructure, which already featured contact-less payment options.
Toiletries available for delivery on Pizza Hut’s website would include tissues, toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo.
Food would include biscuits, flour, rolled oats, frozen vegetables, tuna and tinned spaghetti.
Mr Reed said the big supermarkets had struggled to keep up with delivering grocery orders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘but you could still ring us and within 30 minutes you’d get a pizza.’
‘If there’s a particular problem going forward we will be able within half an hour to deliver the support to the elderly and vulnerable in society,’ he said.
Mr Reed said Pizza Hut had held discussions with health authorities, emergency services and various other government agencies about how it could help.
‘Hopefully we never, ever, ever need to launch it but working with the authorities we’ll be able to switch that on rapidly towards particular communities where we trade.’
As well as providing food and toiletries Helping Hands Essentials could be used to deliver basic medication such as Panadol.
‘If there’s, for example, medicines that need to reach the elderly or the vulnerable we will be able to facilitate that as well,’ Mr Reed said.
‘If it was medication we’d need to arrange that in advance and we’d endeavour to source it but at first instance literally they’d be able to go onto our website.
‘In addition to all the pizzas and pastas and wings and other foods they’d be able to select the essentials and actually look through to see what’s there.’
Mr Reed said the company would be selecting products based on what was likely to be most needed.
‘Say for example, those simple staples that someone can’t get to the corner shop, we’ll provide it.
‘Nothing exciting but toothpaste and deodorant and tea and sugar. Just those simple staples.
‘If there’s something someone particularly needs or wants we’d endeavour to source it as well. It literally is just that extra little service, that extra little bit that helps.’
Mr Reed said Helping Hands Essentials items would be affordable.
‘There’ll hardly be any mark-up at all. The cost will be what you will get at Woolies or Coles or whatever.
‘This is to help the community. Hopefully we’ll never need it, quite frankly.’
It has not yet been decided if customers would be able to purchase the essential items separately to a food order.
McDonald’s has been selling milk, English muffins, gourmet bread rolls and eggs to drive-thru customers during the pandemic.