When we think of drive-throughs, we usually think of pulling into a line, ordering, and getting out with our meal within a couple of minutes. For decades, speed has been the name of the game.
According to a study by QSR Magazine, Dunkin’ is the fastest drive-through chain in the country in 2019, with customers waiting about 3 minutes 37 seconds from pull-up to exit. Following Dunkin’ on the list, in order, were Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr., KFC, Arby’s Hardee’s, McDonald’s, and Chick-fil-A. Find out the 15 most convenient fast-food restaurants.
Overall, the average chain has a speed of 4 minutes and 15 seconds, which is actually a 20-second increase from last year. It indicates that drive-throughs are overall getting slower, but that could be more representative of fast food’s evolution in recent years.
Study authors noted that an increased focus on customer satisfaction and the technologies behind it has led to a decrease in speed of service. However, guests don’t seem to mind as much if the food and service are both solid, as places like Chick-fil-A enjoy plenty of sales volume despite a wait time of 4 minutes and 20 seconds on average. Here are 33 things your fast-food worker isn’t telling you.
Speed is still important to both the customers and the brands, though, and modern technologies are being explored to try to improve both quickness and service quality at the same time. Artificial intelligence that can recognize a car’s past order and predict what the customer wants depending on the time of day is something that chains are looking into.
For now, though, you can rest assured knowing that chains are still pretty fast, as giants like McDonald’s clocked in under the 5-minute mark for speed. If you want the quickest drive-through order you can get right now, though, Dunkin’ seems like your best bet. Next, here are the craziest things fast-food drive-through workers have seen at work.