Study: Wait times for fast food drive-thrus getting longer | TribLIVE.com
Food & Drink

Study: Wait times for fast food drive-thrus getting longer

Frank Carnevale
1759589_web1_PTR-DUNKIN-042419
Tribune-Review
A “Next Generation” Dunkin’ store opened in Pleasant Hills on Tuesday. It’s the first of its kind in Western Pennsylvania. The restaurant offers a modern atmosphere and new and innovative technologies and design elements.

If it feels like you’re waiting a little longer in the drive-thru for that quick lunch, you could be right.

According to a new study, wait times for fast-food drive-thru have risen since last year.

Customers spent an average of 4 minutes and 15 seconds from speaker to order window in 2019, about 20 seconds longer than in 2018, according to a study from restaurant trade publication QSR Magazine.

For the restaurants in the survey, Dunkin’ clocked in with the fastest speed of service with an average of 3 minutes and 36 seconds. Chick-fil-A had the longest wait time with 5 minutes and 23 seconds to pick up your order.

The study involved more than 1,500 visits to 10 fast food chains, including Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A. The visits were conducted across the country and at different times between June 1 and Aug. 1, according to QSR.

According to the report, fast-food restaurants are trying to lessen wait times by using technology. The magazine said, for example, that Chick-fil-A is putting employees outside stores with iPads and using the tablets to take customers’ orders and payments.

Dunkin’ told the magazine that they are pushing customers use the “mobile app to bypass the regular drive-thru lane to pick up their orders and get on their way even faster than before.”

The Drive Thru Performance Study by QSR also looked at other factors like order accuracy (also down from last year); customer service satisfaction (Chick-fil-A got the best marks); the use of order-confirmation boards; suggestive selling; digital menu boards; and the number of cars in line.

Mobile ordering is the current hot trend in the industry, but the magazine sees artificial intelligence as the next wave that could improve drive-thru operations.

According to QSR’s study, here are the average speeds of service at restaurants by seconds:

1. Dunkin’ 216.75 seconds

2. Wendy’s 230.38

3. Burger King 235.48

4. Taco Bell 240.38

5. Carl’s Jr. 240.51

6. KFC 243.73

7. Arby’s 263.46

8. Hardee’s 266.34

9. McDonald’s 283.05

10. Chick-fil-A 322.98

Frank Carnevale is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Frank via Twitter .

Categories: Lifestyles | Food Drink
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