HomeBusinessThis is the fast food restaurant with the slowest drive thru

This is the fast food restaurant with the slowest drive thru

Chick-fil-A was recently named America’s favorite fast food restaurant, but the chain just tops a decidedly less flattering list.

According to the QSR magazine’s Drive-thru Report, Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thru time of 10 popular restaurants, averaging 325 seconds or about 5 1/2 minutes. Wendy’s, whose founder Dave Thomas is credited with pioneering the drive-thru concept, was also one of the slowest of the restaurants surveyed at 275 seconds, or nearly 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, the fast food restaurant known for its Mexican pizzas and chalupas has the fastest drive-thru time. Taco Bell completes customer drive-thru orders in 222 seconds, or just over 3 1/2 minutes, according to the report.

A Chick-fil-A spokesperson declined to comment, referring CBS MoneyWatch to the comment a company official made to QSR. Taco Bell and Wendy’s did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

One of the reasons the drive-thru line at Chick-fil-A’s is slower is that the restaurant typically has more cars in drive-thru than other fast food chains, the report found. Another reason is that Chick-fil-A employees approach the drive-thru with a different goal in mind, Matt Abercrombie, the chain’s senior director of service and hospitality, told QSR.

“[W]We know the diners in the drive-thru want speed and accuracy, but they don’t want to feel rushed,” Abercrombie said in the report, which drew its conclusions from a survey of 1,000 customers who visited a fast-food restaurant last month.

Chick-fil-A Ranked America’s Favorite Fast Food Restaurant – Again


Wendy’s chief operations officer Deepak Ajmani told QSR that the company is upgrading its digital ordering process, which includes placing orders on Wendy’s mobile app and self-service kiosks in the lobby.

“We are still focusing on the number of cars and the speed of service, but the accuracy and taste of food, as well as overall customer satisfaction and the likelihood of return are also crucial indicators,” he told the outlet.

Wendy’s drive-thru accurately fulfills customer orders 79% of the time, placing it last among other popular fast food chains in the report. Arby’s topped that list with 89%.

Decades ago, drive-thrus was an afterthought in the fast food industry, as most customers preferred to order and often dine at the restaurant. But in recent years, the drive-thru has become increasingly important. At the height of the corona pandemicdrive-thrus became a vital asset as restaurants closed their lobbies in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In April, May and June 2020, drive-thru visits accounted for 42% of all fast food restaurant visits, according to market research firm NPD Group.

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