The fast-food drive-thru window is key to the whole "fast" part of the deal, but with more menu choices than ever, those custom burrito bowls are slowing down the process. In fast-food time, waiting 150 seconds for your order is an eternity.
The fast-food drive-thru window is key to the whole “fast” part of the deal, but with more menu choices than ever, those custom burrito bowls are slowing down the process. In fast-food time, waiting 150 seconds for your order is an eternity.
According to the new Drive-Thru Performance Study, drive-thru wait times are up compared to last year. The study, conducted by QSR magazine and Insula research, looks at what it calls six “benchmark group” brands — Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Krystal, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s — and one rotating brand.
The speed of service at McDonald’s has gone up to 189.49 seconds, a minor increase from 188.83 seconds, while the average wait time for an order at Chick-fil-A is 203.88 seconds, 13 seconds more than last year. Burger King was the only chain to improve its wait time, shaving just under 2 seconds for an average of 198.48.
Wendy’s, which at 133.63 seconds clocked in with the fastest time, devotes a separate grill and sandwich station to its drive-thru window to keep orders moving quickly.
“We knew going into this year’s study that speed-of-service times seemed to have plateaued over the last few years, but we did not really expect to see the nearly across-the-board increases in service times that were apparent,” Brian Baker, president of Insula Research, said in a statement. “One explanation for longer service times could be a more complex menu for operators to deal with, as many restaurants have introduced more healthy options that in some cases could take longer to prepare.”
Rob Savage, chief operations officer at Taco Bell, home of Doritos Tacos Locos and the eight-topping Cantina bowl, told QSR that he wasn’t too concerned with speeding up the drive-thru time, adding that the company hadn’t received any complaints.
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