Hungry customers looking for a meal in a hurry, be warned, Chick-fil-A may not be the best option.
Chick-fil-A was ranked as the slowest, according to new data from a 2022 drive-thru report outlining the fastest drive-thru in the United States.
Taco Bell took first place as the fastest drive-in.
While the chicken chain didn’t rank #1 for speed of service, it did rank #1 for customer service.
QSR Magazine surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and found the top factors they thought made a fast food drive-thru great: convenience, speed of service, and order accuracy.
QSR found that while Chick-fil-A was near the bottom of the fastest drive-thrus list, it was for one reason only: The restaurants were significantly busier than their competitors.
Here are the fastest drive-thrus in the US for 2022:
- Taco Bell (221.99 seconds)
- Dunkin’ Donuts (238.16 seconds)
- KFC (239.02 seconds)
- Arbys (261.19 seconds)
- Burger King (266.68 seconds)
- Hardees (272.10 seconds)
- Wendy’s (275.84 seconds)
- Carls Jr. (289.36 seconds)
- McDonald’s (291.30 seconds)
- Chick-fil-A (325.47 seconds)
Average number of cars in the drive-thru line:
- Chick-fil-A: 5.45
- McDonald’s: 3.13
- Wendy’s: 2.67
- Arbys: 2.28
- Burger King: 2.19
- Taco Bell: 2.17
- Dunkin’ Donuts: 2.11
- KFC: 1.8
- Hardees: 1.64
- Carls Jr.: 1.63
“With this idea, as we know it in the drive-thru, the guest wants speed and accuracy, but they don’t want to feel rushed,” Matt Abercrombie, Chick-fil-A’s senior director of service and hospitality, told QSR Magazine .
According to data collected by QSR, Chick-fil-A’s 1,836 US freestanding restaurants generated average annual sales of $8.142 million, with 46% generating numbers at or above that number. One franchise made nearly $17.16 million.
“Just for perspective, if you add Outback and Cracker Barrel together, that would be $7.92 million,” QSR said.
The pandemic has forced fast food restaurants to think outside the box and change the way they serve their customers. Chains like In-and-Out and Chick-fil-A have moved to taking customer orders on tablets.
QSR explained how Chick-fil-A refined the approach by fine-tuning a “checkpoint system where customers interact with staff at multiple points prior to pickup. It keeps users engaged and allows Chick-fil-A to adapt to individual orders, not just the queue.”
“I think that’s another opportunity to engage with the customer, and that’s what we wanted to do,” Abercrombie said. “We want to get to know our customers, we want to connect with them, we want to make sure they not only get great food and an accurate order, but that they feel personally cared for and connected in the process.”
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Chick-fil-A has maintained its position as America’s Favorite Restaurant for eight consecutive years.
Ensuring order accuracy was one of the most important factors for customers, with more than half (58%) of QSR respondents citing order accuracy as the most important.
“This suggests two things: Drive-through standards have risen due to usage; and second, as these systems become more widespread and consumers use them regularly, they place them higher in their demand,” QSR said.
Here’s how some of the country’s most popular fast-food drive-thrus score on accuracy, according to the QSR survey:
- Arby’s 89.60%
- McDonald’s 89%
- Burger King 86.90%
- Carls Jr 86.20%
- Hardee’s 85.40%
- Taco Bell 83.80%
- Chick Fil A 83%
- KFC 82.60%
- Dunkin’ Donuts 81.80%
- Wendy’s 79.40%