CBS News came out with a study claiming to have found the "fast-food restaurant with the slowest drive-thru." Even though they have numbers backing up their claim, I disagree with it. Let us know what you think about drive-thurs in Wisconsin.


The Findings

While I don't think the list is wrong (I mean they have the numbers to back it up.) I do think it could be misleading, these numbers are the averages of your wait time...

But semantics aside, the concept was straightforward at creation—provide a counter to the carhop service consumers were familiar with. And it was billed as more convenient for guests and restaurants alike. Guests responded.

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In order from fastest to slowest drive-thru:

  • Taco Bell completes customer drive-thru orders in 222 seconds
  • Dunkin' completes customer drive-thru orders in 238 seconds
  • KFC completes customer drive-thru orders in 239 seconds
  • Arby's completes customer drive-thru orders in 261 seconds
  • Burger King completes customer drive-thru orders in 266 seconds
  • Hardee's completes customer drive-thru orders  in 272 seconds
  • Wendy's completes customer drive-thru orders in 275 seconds
  • Mcdonald's completes customer drive-thru orders in 291 seconds
  • Chick-fil-A completes customer drive-thru orders in 325 seconds
McDonalds Speeds Up Take Out Service
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The Slowest Drive-Thru is Chick-fil-A.

According to industry publication QSR magazine's Drive-thru Report, Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thru time of 10 popular restaurants, at 325 seconds, or about 5 1/2 minutes, on average. Wendy's, whose founder Dave Thomas is credited with pioneering the drive-thru concept, was also among the slowest of the restaurants surveyed at 275 seconds, or almost 5 minutes.

Why We Disagree With This List

McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing
McConnell Adams, Townsquare Media Lansing

Personally, I think this measurement is very flawed, and anyone who has sat in a Taco Bell drive-thru Between 12 and 2 AM knows what I mean. Taco Bell isn't "super fast" they just have fewer cars. Chick-fil-A notoriously always has a constant line, but that is because they just have more people showing up. They even admit it right here,

One reason the drive-thru line at Chick-fil-A's is slower is that the restaurant tends to have a higher volume of cars in drive-thru than other fast-food chains.

Don't get me wrong I love both of these spots. They help keep the state of Wisconsin run. So where am I going with this?

The study should have looked at how many cars are served an hour rather than the wait time at a certain time. I believe with all my heart that Chick-fil-A moves its people along faster. That line is ALWAYS moving, and they are so friendly and professional.

Taco Bell on the other hand is almost always at a standstill for most of the time. Once you order they get you through quickly, but before that... you are not moving.

So sure Taco Bell has technically the quickest wait time most of the day, but I still don't think it gets as many cars through that 2nd window as other fast food spots.

What do you think?

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