Innovating for a New “Hverdag"

How AmCham Hospitality and Service Industry Members are Supporting Local Economies While Preventing the Spread of COVID-19

This is a challenging time for many companies – especially those in the hospitality and service industry.

Several AmCham member companies are adapting their strategies to provide customers with a sense of normalcy, while going the extra mile to ensure that they are not only operating within the Norwegian authorities’ safety frameworks but exceeding them. At the core of this new operating reality are innovative solutions and creative initiatives that put the health and safety of customers and employees first.

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Photo: Kilian Munch

Johnny Rockets

Amongst restaurants still operating during this difficult time is Johnny Rockets. As a relatively new actor on the Oslo restaurant scene, having opened its first classic American diner here in 2018, and was in the process of opening a third location at Sandvika Storsenter when the crisis hit. The company has decided to continue on and open this location, noting the importance of keeping the business going and adding more jobs. The restaurant, which was supposed to open March 25, is now finished and will open mid-April. They have had to quickly adopt a takeaway model.

“We take responsibility by staying open during this time of crisis. It is very challenging – we have lost a large part of the turnover and have had to furlough 90% of our employees. We do this to try to save jobs while keeping the wheels running in Norway. Also, because it is important that restaurants can continue to supply food to everyone who is either quarantined or has a home office, and help maintain some aspects of normal life. We want to make our guests feel safe. We have switched up our operations and most of our business is takeout. We also have made deliveries a possibility,” says CEO Jon-Erik Kristiansen. “It’s a tough day at Johnny Rockets, but we will come back even stronger!”

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“It’s a tough day at Johnny Rockets, but we will come back even stronger!”

Johnny Rockets CEO Jon-Erik Kristiansen


Opening their first restaurant in Oslo in 1983, McDonald’s has since employed over 50.000 Norwegians, becoming one of Norway’s largest restaurant chains, with 73 restaurants stretching from Kristiansand in the south and Steinkjer in the north. They have become one of Norway’s biggest workplaces for youth and first-time employees.

According to Communications Manager Veronika Skagestad, “we are trying our best to keep the restaurants open – both to ensure that people in the immediate area have access to food and to secure jobs. The safety and health of our guests and employees is the most important thing for us, and we follow the recommendations of the Norwegian health authorities closely. We see that our customers appreciate the opportunity to use drive-through, which accounts for around 70% of our sales now. Home delivery is also a service that has increased recently. Our ambition is to do what we can to keep the wheels running safely.”

Photo: Kilian Munch

Burger King

Burger King has opened 84 restaurants in Norway since 1988. Today their restaurants are closed for guest seating, but their service continues. 

Marketing Manager Heidi Moss notes that “this is a demanding situation for all of us. Burger King is working to keep as many restaurants as possible open for take-away, drive-thru, and home delivery. Seating in our restaurants is not available to ensure that our guests do not sit close to each other, in accordance with the instructions of the Norwegian Institute for Public Health. Our staff is committed to maintaining high-quality service for our guests, in the safest way possible. We already had strict guidelines for hygiene, and these have been further developed.”

“We are very grateful to all who dine with us during this extraordinary time and we are constantly updating our website with information on all restaurants that are open and at what hours.”

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The American coffee chain opened its first cafe in Norway at Oslo Airport at the beginning of 2012 to satisfy Norwegian’s impressive thirst for coffee. In the past weeks, Starbucks has been transparent, sharing the global company’s steps to navigating COVID-19 in China so that others can learn from their experience. 

“As we continue to navigate the scale and impact that coronavirus has had on our daily lives, our employees and customers remain our greatest priority. Throughout this period, we have been closely following the guidance of government and health officials in Norway. As of March 17th, we chose to close all of our coffee houses as part of the national and global dugnad to prevent spreading the virus, says Operations Manager Monica Vollan.

“As we continue to navigate the scale and impact that coronavirus has had on our daily lives, our employees and customers remain our greatest priority.”

Starbucks Operations Manager Monica Vollan

“At Starbucks, we are local – and the local support from business unions, shopping centers, and retail organizations is much appreciated. We are currently unable to offer ‘the Starbucks experience’ at our stores, but our webshop is still open and fully stocked. We already see that the number of orders is increasing, a silver lining in this difficult time. To support online sales and give our customers prime value for their purchase, we are sharing our best guides on how to brew a perfect cup of coffee at home and recipes for snacks, coffee drinks and treats that upgrade the home office.”

Support While Staying Safe

You can still enjoy your favorite restaurants and support local employees while staying safe. Order takeaway or delivery – and share menus and special opening hours on social media within your local community! Keep yourself and others safe by:

  • Ordering food delivery or takeaway if possible.
  • If you are sick – have someone pick up the food for you!
  • Paying electronically and in advance when possible.
  • Avoiding contact by having food placed on your doorstep.
  • Disinfecting the doorknob and doorbell for delivery workers.
  • Immediately throwing away bags or food containers.
  • And as always, washing your hands!