These fast-food chains have the fastest drive-thrus, consumers say

Taco Bell took the top spot overall, but there’s a caveat

Alex Wong/Getty Images

How fast is fast food? A new report gives insight into the top drive-thru chains and which ones really offer the speediest service.

Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru landed dead last in a ranking of speedy service — but that’s just because the chain is busier than others, according to the survey.

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QSR Magazine/Intouch Insights recently released its 2022 Drive-Thru Report, which surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and asked for their experiences on speed, accuracy and convenience.

In general, consumers said they typically wait 10 minutes at the drive-thru, though their ideal amount of time is 8 minutes. They would be willing to spend 13 minutes at the drive-thru, they said.

QSR ranked 10 fast-foot chains for their speed of service, no matter how many cars are in line. These are the fastest, according to customers:

  1. Taco Bell: 221.99 seconds, or 3 minutes and 42 seconds
  2. Dunkin’: 238.16 seconds
  3. KFC: 239.02 seconds
  4. Arby’s: 261.19 seconds
  5. Burger King: 266.68 seconds
  6. Hardee’s: 272.10 seconds
  7. Wendy’s 275.84 seconds
  8. Carl’s Jr.: 289.36
  9. McDonald’s: 291.30 seconds
  10. Chick-fil-A: 325.47 seconds

“Both (Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A) have become familiar results. But calling Chick-fil-A the country’s ‘slowest’ drive-thru falls well short on context, as customer sentiment backs. The chain was given a 93 percent for speed of service satisfaction, per the survey, which trailed only Arby’s (96 percent). So if it is, indeed, ‘slow,’ guests don’t seem to agree,” the study states.

QSR states that the order changes when factoring in the number of vehicles in line.

Consumers stated that, typically, there are more cars in line at Chick-fil-A. They noted that at KFC, they typically saw zero cars in front of them.

QSR said the “true” way to measure speed is by looking at the average total time by cars in the line. They measure as:

  1. Chick-fil-A: 107.41 seconds, or 1 minute and 47 seconds
  2. McDonald’s: 118 seconds
  3. Taco Bell: 127.58 seconds
  4. Arby’s: 139.92 seconds
  5. Dunkin’: 140.21 seconds
  6. Wendy’s: 141.67 seconds
  7. Burger King: 147.43 seconds
  8. KFC: 142.84 seconds
  9. Hardee’s: 180.21 seconds
  10. Carl’s Jr. 193.6 seconds

As far as accuracy, Arby’s and McDonald’s led the ranking with 89.60% and 89%, respectively.

Chick-fil-A took the top spot for friendly service — 88% — and McDonald’s ranked the highest for not-friendly service — 8.5%.

Click here to read about more findings on fast-food service.

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About the Author

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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