Recent Study Shows That Drive-Thrus Are Getting Slower and Messing Up More Orders

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If you’re craving a burger, taco or chicken nuggets and you want your food fast, chances are you’re headed to a drive-thru. We love how convenient drive-thrus are, and they were especially essential during the beginning of the pandemic when some fast food locations closed their indoor dining and switched to drive-thru and take out only.

Unfortunately, if you went to the drive-thru in 2020, your experience was probably a little bit better than it is currently in 2021. According to a recent study conducted by SeeLevel HX, drive-thru customers are experiencing longer wait times, and their orders are less accurate.

The drive thru study was conducted with the assistance of mystery shoppers who each ordered a hot sandwich, a side item, a drink and a special request when they were at the drive-thru. The study was conducted in July and early August of 2021, and orders were placed at 1492 drive-thru shops. The fast food brands included in the study were Arby’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin, Hardee’s, KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.

What SeeLevel HX discovered when they compared the data to a study from 2020 was that the average time it takes to go through the drive-thru has increased by 25.59 seconds. In addition, 15% of the orders were not fulfilled accurately.

The study revealed which fast food chains tend to be best at fulfilling orders accurately. Chick-fil-A came in first. Taco Bell took second place. Arbys, Burger King and Carl’s Jr tied for third.

In addition to looking at speed and accuracy at fast food chains, the study also looked at the effects of Covid-19. In particular, the study looked at how many people are wearing face masks in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2020, 91% of the country wore face masks. In 2021, that number has dropped to 54%.

Although speed and accuracy are important, taste is important as well. The survey found that customers were happiest with the taste of the main entree at Chick-fil-A followed by Arby’s, Taco Bell, McDonald’s and KFC.

One thing has improved since 2020 – the temperature of the food. More people in 2021 said the temperature of their food was as expected compared to 2020.

One reason fast food chains might be struggling to fulfill orders quickly and accurately is due to the fact that many have struggled to retain employees. Fewer employees will definitely slow down service, and training new employees could factor into a decrease in accuracy.

What’s your favorite fast food brand? Does it surprise you that fast food locations are slower and less accurate in 2021 as compared to 2020?