Which fast food restaurant has the quickest drive-thru time?

Drive thru lane on the ground.
Drive thru lane on the ground. Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

Sometimes it costs to be polite, and for one friendly fast food chain, it costs in drive-through time as a new report has found that Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thru.

The survey comes from QSR Magazine, which surveyed more than 1,000 customers of fast-food restaurants in the United States. It ranked several factors, including convenience, speed, and order accuracy.

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So, customers in a hurry looking for the fastest fast food drive-thru will want to find their local Taco Bell, as it came in as the fastest in the U.S., with customers waiting an average of 221.99 seconds.

Following Taco Bell, rounding out the top five is Dunkin’ Donuts (238.16 seconds), KFC (239.02 seconds), Arby’s (261.19 seconds), and Burger King (266.68 seconds). The slowest five were Hardee’s (272.10 seconds), Wendy’s (275.84 seconds), Carl’s Jr. (289.36 seconds), McDonald’s (291.30 seconds), and Chick-fil-A (325.47 seconds).

But, restaurants that took the longest weren’t without reason, as the bottom two, McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A, were also the top two in average numbers of cars in their drive-thru lines, with 3.13 for the golden arches and 5.45 for Chick-fil-A.

QSR noted in its report that Chick-fil-A was the busiest of all the establishments it surveyed and ranked number one in customer satisfaction.

QSR spoke with Chick-fil-A’s senior director of service and hospitality, Matt Abercrombie. He shared that in a drive-thru, it isn’t always about speed.

“This idea that we know in the drive-thru the guest wants speed and accuracy, but they don’t want to feel rushed,” Abercrombie said.

Other notable restaurants with high speed and an average number of cars were Arby’s at fourth with 2.28 cars, Burger King at fifth with 2.19 cars, and Taco Bell at sixth with 2.17 cars.

But when it came to the top drive-thrus, Chick-fil-A stood alone in the report, even though it delivered customers the slowest.

According to QSR, the restaurant has taken a different approach, with customers constantly engaged with employees and employees working on individual orders and not just a queue.

“I think that’s another opportunity to connect with the customer, and so that’s what we wanted to do,” Abercrombie said. “We want to know our customers, we want to connect with them, we want to make sure that they’re not only getting great food, accurate order, but that they feel cared for in the process, personally and connected with.”

The success speaks for itself, as for the last eight years, the American Customer Satisfaction Index has found that America’s favorite restaurant is Chick-fil-A.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images