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Papa John's CEO shares how the pizza chain is navigating the coronavirus pandemic

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

The fast food industry is banding together to feed a nation of people quarantined due to the spreading of the coronavirus outbreak.

With a well-established delivery network and a food — pizza — that serves large families, Papa John’s CEO Rob Lynch says now is a key time for the industry.

“I do think these are unique times, and it provides a lot of companies the opportunity to come together to really help the communities in which we live and serve,” Lynch said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

Lynch continued, “The industry is changing dramatically right now, where a lot of my peers that run dine-in restaurants are being asked to close their dining rooms and I feel really bad for them from a business standpoint. But from a community standpoint I feel it’s our responsibility that has more of a delivery model to pick up the slack and make sure the communities we live and work in have the food they need to get through this situation.”

To be sure, quarantined Americans are relying heavily on fast food companies and third-party delivery services like Uber Eats right now.

A Papa John's pizzeria on South Rochester Road in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

Major fast-food chains such as Papa John’s, McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s are open for business (unlike most sit-down eateries) amidst the coronavirus outbreak — even if it’s only takeout and delivery. The only question now is whether the industry could keep food flowing as supply chains are stressed with consumers panic buying products.

“We are well positioned to continue to meet demand out there,” Restaurant Brands CEO Jose Cil told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade earlier this week, when asked if the fast-food player was running low on supplies. Cil, Lynch and other leading restaurant executives had a call Tuesday with President Trump and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin where they discussed the challenges of the sector at the moment.

Cil said his company’s vast supply-chain network that feeds thousands of Burger King, Popeye’s and Tim Horton’s restaurants globally is in tact. Other industry insiders have also told Yahoo Finance supplies continue to flow rather normally.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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