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

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

Frank Carnevale
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
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.