Fast Food Drive-Thrus Are Slowing Down, Study Says

Instead of driving “thru,” customers are spending extra time waiting for their food

Drive-thrus take 222 seconds on average to serve customers.

Drive-thrus have actually gotten slower over the past year.

According to QSR Magazine, drive-thru has been getting significantly slower over the years. They recorded data from 1,532 drive-thru windows at 29 fast food chains, including McDonald’s, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Chick-Fil-A, and found that these restaurants are serving their food 19 seconds slower than last year.

QSR found in their annual drive-thru performance study that it now takes 222 seconds on average to get food, but they cite that fast food chains are trying to be more accurate when completing orders, therefore they are taking the extra time to do so.

“Once [customers] leave and it’s not right, it’s a lot more difficult to recover those guests than someone who’s dining in,” Carl Howard, CEO of the Italian fast food chain Fazoli’s, told QSR.

In turn, accuracy rates have improved. Burger order accuracy has improved 4.1 percent, while all other orders have improved two percent over the past year.


QSR also noted that the quickest time to go to a drive-thru is during breakfast hours, when customers only sit in line for an average of 183 seconds. They also say that this is the busiest time of day for most chains.