When we think of drive-thrus, we usually think of pulling into a line, ordering, and getting out with our meal within a couple of minutes. Speed has been the name of the game and why fast food is so popular, but while a new study suggests that perceived speed is not what it used to be, there are some restaurants that still excel when it comes to getting your food as quickly as possible.
According to a study by QSR Magazine, Burger King is the fastest drive-thru chain in the country in 2018, with customers waiting about 3 minutes and 13 seconds from pull-up to exit. Following BK on the list, in order, were Dunkin', KFC, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Arby's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Chick-fil-A, and McDonald's.
Overall, the average chain has a speed of 3 minutes and 54 seconds, which is actually a 9-second increase from last year. It indicates that drive-thrus 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.
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. Mobile ordering, artificial intelligence, and digital menu boards are some of the things companies are looking at.
For now, though, you can rest assured knowing that chains are still pretty fast, as even McDonald's was under the 5-minute mark for speed. If you want the quickest drive-thru order you can get right now, though, Burger King seems like your best bet.