Food & Nutrition

This Is the Fastest Drive-Through Chain in the United States

Speed has been the name of the game and why fast food is so popular, but a new study suggests that perceived speed is not what it used to be.

Drive thru lane on the day timetonirichsag1411/Shutterstock

When we think of drive-throughs, we usually think of pulling into a line, ordering, and getting out with our meal within a couple of minutes. For decades, speed has been the name of the game.

According to a study by QSR Magazine, Burger King is the fastest drive-through chain in the country in 2018, with customers waiting about 3 minutes and 13 seconds from pull-up to exit. Following BK on the list, in order, were Dunkin’, KFC, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Chick-fil-A, and McDonald’s. Find out the 15 most convenient fast food restaurants.

Overall, the average chain has a speed of 3 minutes and 54 seconds, which is actually a 9-second increase from last year. It indicates that drive-throughs are overall getting slower, but that could be more representative of fast food’s evolution in recent years.

Study authors noted that an increased focus on customer satisfaction and the technologies behind it has led to a decrease in speed of service. However, guests don’t seem to mind as much if the food and service are both solid, as places like Chick-fil-A enjoy plenty of sales volume despite a wait time of 4 minutes and 20 seconds on average. Here are 33 things your fast-food worker isn’t telling you.

Speed is still important to both the customers and the brands, though, and modern technologies are being explored to try to improve both quickness and service quality at the same time. Mobile ordering, artificial intelligence, and digital menu boards are some of the things companies are looking at.

For now, though, you can rest assured knowing that chains are still pretty fast, as giants like McDonald’s clocked in under the 5-minute mark for speed. If you want the quickest drive-through order you can get right now, though, Burger King seems like your best bet. Next, here are the craziest things fast food drive-through workers have seen at work.

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