Chick-fil-A has slowest drive-thru, 2022 fast-food report says


Hungry customers looking for a meal in a hurry be warned, Chick-fil-A might not be the best option. 

According to new data from a 2022 drive-thru report that outlines the fastest drive-thrus in the United States, Chick-fil-A ranked as the slowest, with Taco Bell taking the top spot as the fastest drive-thru.

While the chicken chain did not come in first place in speed of service, it did rank No.1 in customer service.

QSR Magazine surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and found the top factors they believed made a fast-food drive-thru great: convenience, speed of service and order accuracy. 

Here are the fastest drive-thrus in the U.S. for 2022: 

  1. Taco Bell (221.99 seconds)
  2. Dunkin’ Donuts (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 seconds)
  9. McDonald’s (291.30 seconds)
  10. Chick-fil-A (325.47 seconds)

QSR noted that while Chick-fil-A was at the bottom of the list for fastest drive-thrus, this was due to one reason and one reason only: the restaurants were significantly busier than their competitors.


Average number of cars in drive-thru line: 

  • Chick-fil-A: 5.45
  • McDonald’s: 3.13
  • Wendy’s: 2.67
  • Arby’s: 2.28
  • Burger King: 2.19
  • Taco Bell: 2.17
  • Dunkin’ Donuts: 2.11
  • KFC: 1.8
  • Hardee’s: 1.64
  • Carl’s Jr.: 1.63

“This idea that we know 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 U.S. freestanding restaurants averaged annual sales of $8.142 million, with 46% producing figures at or above that figure. One franchise almost made $17.16 million. 

“For perspective, if you put Outback and Cracker Barrel together, you’d be at $7.92 million,” QSR said. 

Chick-fil-A employee

The pandemic forced fast-food restaurants to think outside the box and change the way they provide service to their customers. Chains like In-and-Out and Chick-fil-A transitioned to taking customers’ orders on tablets.


QSR explained how Chick-fil-A refined the approach by fine-tuning a “check-point system where customers interact with employees at multiple points before pickup. It keeps users engaged and also enables Chick-fil-A to adjust based on individual orders, not just the queue.”

“I think that’s another opportunity to connect with the customer, and so that’s what we wanted to do,” Abercrombie said. “We want to know our customers, we want to connect with them, we want to make sure that they’re not only getting great food, accurate order, but that they feel cared for in the process, personally and connected with.”

Chick-fil-A has maintained its position as America’s favorite restaurant for eight years in a row, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). 

Chick-fil-A restaurant sign

Ensuring order accuracy was one of the most important factors for customers, with more than half (58%) of those surveyed by QSR saying that order accuracy was most important. 

“What this indicates is twofold—standards have hiked at the drive-thru due to usage; and secondly, as these systems spread and consumers use them regularly, they place them higher in their demand set,” QSR said. 

Here’s how some of the country’s most popular fast-food drive-thrus fared on accuracy, according to QSR’s survey:

  1. Arby’s 89.60%
  2. McDonald’s 89%
  3. Burger King 86.90%
  4. Carl’s Jr. 86.20%
  5. Hardee’s 85.40%
  6. Taco Bell 83.80%
  7. Chick-fil-A 83%
  8. KFC 82.60%
  9. Dunkin’ Donuts 81.80%
  10. Wendy’s 79.40%

Read the full article here


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