The race is on. You’re hungry. You’re craving a burger. Or a chicken sandwich. The scent of those fast-food fries is wafting in through your car window, and your stomach is rumbling. Every second counts, as your patience wears thin and you need your food STAT. Did you choose the wrong drive-thru? We finally have answers!
The 22nd annual drive-thru study from QSR Magazine and customer-solutions company Intouch Insight has just revealed the fastest and slowest drive-thrus among America’s biggest fast-food chains. It included the analysis of 1,500 orders placed at the chain’s drive-thru windows.
When it comes to speed, you’ll want to avoid Chick-fil-A at all costs. According to the study, you’ll spend an average of 8 minutes and 29 seconds waiting at the chicken chain’s drive-thru before you can happily drive off with your food in tow. Chick-fil-A landed in tenth and last place when it comes to the length of wait time. However, this isn’t because the brand was slow at serving people. On the contrary, when taking into account the number of cars waiting at the drive-thru, Chick-fil-A was actually a top performer in speed, which means that its slowness is simply due to its popularity. Additionally, the chain tied with Carl’s Jr. to score the highest rating when it comes to customer satisfaction, which takes into account staff friendliness and customer expectations.
But back to speed. Coming in third place was the beloved burger slinger Hardee’s, with an average wait time of 5 minutes and 23 seconds, while the runner-up for the fastest drive-thru was Taco Bell with 5 minutes and 18 seconds.
The chain with the fastest drive-thru in 2022, aka the shortest average wait time, was KFC, taking just 5 minutes and 3 seconds for the complete drive-thru experience. This is quite a shift from previous years when Chick-fil-A landed in the top spot, while KFC didn’t even make the top five.
If you’re looking for an accurate order (and really, what’s more disappointing than getting your order and realizing there’s something amiss), then head to Arby’s or McDonald’s—which tied for first place in this important category. Burger King came in third, followed by Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.
You also have to consider the food quality. In that category, Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell tied for first place, followed by a three-way tie: Arby’s, Dunkin’, and Wendy’s.
So before you hit the drive-thru, you need to decide: Do I want the fastest order, the most accurate, or the best quality? It’s a philosophical question if there ever was one.