These Fast Food Chain Have the Fastest Drive-Thrus

Chains have struggled with long wait times and declining customer happiness, but some are rebounding.

Nothing is more convenient than picking up dinner without ever having to leave your car. Drive-thrus have truly spoiled us and we’ve become so accustomed to fast service that any stray minute spent waiting in line is almost immediately noticed.

But, for some restaurants, the pandemic has led to slower service. Many hourly workers are demanding higher pay and better benefits, and some have chosen to leave their jobs as a result of their needs not being met. This has set some restaurants back and led to a mountain of scheduling issues that are impacting customers.

According to Intouch Insight's annual drive-thru study and as reported by CNBC, the average drive-thru customer these days is spending an average of 6 minutes and 13 seconds in the drive-thru lane. This is almost 10 seconds faster than last year but is still lagging behind pre-pandemic wait times.

According to the study, Chick-fil-A has the nation's fastest drive-thru (when the number of cars in line is accounted for), followed by McDonald's and Taco Bell.

The study relied on mystery shoppers who visited over 1,500 fast food drive-thrus to temperature check not only speed of service, but also the friendliness of staff.

So which chain had the most satisfied customers? Carl's Jr. and Chick-fil-A split the top spot here with 95% satisfaction. This marks the third year in a row that Chick-Fil-A has placed first in the aforementioned category.

One chain that struggled in the ranking was Wendy's, which reported a wait time that was 20% longer than it was in 2019. Wendy’s also had the lowest order accuracy and customer satisfaction score with only 79% of drive-thru orders fulfilled correctly out of the chains surveyed.

Whatever the issue is Wendy’s, I could walk a thousand miles (and wait a thousand minutes) for those spicy chicken nuggets. We thank you for your service.

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.