Science

Here’s the Fast-Food Restaurant with the Slowest Drive-Thru

Chick-fil-A was recently named America’s Favorite Fast-Food Restaurant—but the chain certainly tops the less flattering list.

According to the drive-thru report from industry publication QSR Magazine, Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thru time of the 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 among the slowest restaurants surveyed at 275 seconds, or about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, the fast-food restaurant known for its Mexican pizza and chalupas has the fastest drive-thru times. Reportedly, Taco Bell completes a customer drive-thru order in 222 seconds, or just 3 1/2 minutes.

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

One reason the drive-thru line is slow at Chick-fil-A is that restaurants tend to have a higher volume of cars at the drive-thru than at other fast-food chains, the report found. Another reason is the Chick-fil-A worker drive-thru with a different goal in mind, Matt Abercrombie, the chain’s senior director of service and hospitality, told QSR.

,[W]E drive-thru knows that the guest wants speed and accuracy, but they don’t want to feel rushed,” Abercrombie said in the report, which concluded last month from a survey of 1,000 customers who visited fast food restaurants.


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Wendy’s Chief Operating Officer Deepak Ajmani told QSR that the company is upgrading its digital order-taking process, which includes placing orders on Wendy’s mobile app and self-service kiosks in the lobby.

“We still focus on car numbers and speed of service, but the precision and taste of the food are important indicators as well as overall customer satisfaction and return potential,” he told the outlet.

Wendy’s drive-thru fills customer orders 79% accurately, among other popular fast-food joints reported. Arabic tops that list with 89%.

Decades ago, drive-thrus was thought of in the fast-food industry because most customers preferred to order and often dine at restaurants. But in recent years, the importance of drive-thru has increased. at the height of coronavirus pandemicThe drive-thru became an important asset as the restaurant closed its lobbies in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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

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