Hungry customers in a hurry to eat, be warned, Chick-fil-A may not be the best option.
Chick-fil-A is the slowest, according to new data from a 2022 drive-thru report that outlines the fastest drive-thru in the United States.
Taco Bell took first place as the fastest drive-thru.
While the chicken chain didn’t come first in terms of speed of service, it did rank #1 in customer service.
QSR Magazine surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and found the key factors they believe made a fast food drive-thru great: convenience, speed of service, and order accuracy.
QSR noted that while Chick-fil-A was at the bottom of the list for fastest drive-thrus, it was due to one reason and one reason only: The restaurants were significantly busier than their competitors.
Here are the fastest drive-thrus in the US for 2022:
- Taco Bell (221.99 seconds)
- Dunkin’ Donuts (238.16 seconds)
- KFC (239.02 seconds)
- Arbys (261.19 seconds)
- Burger King (266.68 seconds)
- Hardee’s (272.10 seconds)
- Wendy’s (275.84 seconds)
- Carl’s Jr. (289.36 seconds)
- McDonald’s (291.30 seconds)
- Chick-fil-A (325.47 seconds)
Average number of cars in drive-thru line:
- Chick-fil-A: 5.45
- McDonald’s: 3.13
- Wendy’s: 2.67
- Arbys: 2.28
- Burger King: 2.19
- Taco bubble: 2.17
- Dunkin’ Donuts: 2.11
- KFC: 1.8
- Hardees: 1.64
- Carl’s Jr.: 1.63
“This idea that we know in the drive-thru, the guy wants speed and accuracy, but they don’t want to feel rushed,” Matt Abercrombie, senior director of service and hospitality at Chick-fil-A, told QSR Magazine.
According to data collected by QSR, Chick-fil-A’s 1,836 freestanding restaurants in the US had average annual sales of $8,142 million, with 46% producing numbers at or above that figure. One franchise made nearly $17.16 million.
“For perspective, if you put Outback and Cracker Barrel together, you would have $7.92 million,” QSR said.
The pandemic forced fast food restaurants to think outside the box and change the way they serve their customers. Chains like In-and-Out and Chick-fil-A switched to taking customer orders on tablets.
QSR explained how Chick-fil-A refined the approach by refining a “checkpoint system where customers communicate with employees at multiple points before pick-up. It keeps users engaged and also allows Chick-fil-A to adapt.” based on individual orders, not just the queue.”
“I think this is another opportunity to engage with the customer, and that’s what we wanted to do,” Abercrombie said. “We want to know our customers, we want to connect with them, we want to make sure that not only do they get great food, get an accurate order, but that they feel cared for, personal and connected throughout the process.”
Chick-fil-A has maintained its position as America’s favorite restaurant for eight straight years, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
Ensuring order accuracy was one of the most important factors for customers, with more than half (58%) of those surveyed by QSR saying order accuracy was most important.
“What this indicates is twofold: standards have risen with use at the drive-thru; and second, as these systems spread and consumers use them regularly, they place them higher in their demand,” QSR said.
Here’s how some of the country’s most popular fast-food drive-thrus fared in accuracy, according to QSR’s research:
- Arby’s 89.60%
- McDonald’s 89%
- Burger King 86.90%
- Carl’s Jr. 86.20%
- Hardee’s 85.40%
- Taco Bell 83.80%
- Chick-fil-A 83%
- KFC 82.60%
- Dunkin’ Donuts 81.80%
- Wendy’s 79.40%
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