What is the longest you'd wait in a drive-thru at a fast food spot?

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 this list a bit.


Would you wait over five minutes in a drive-thru? It appears that just under six minutes is the average for a "longer wait" which seems fair. I have for sure waited more than 10 before.

The Drive-Thru 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.


The Slowest Drive-Thru

This is just the slowest of the drive-thurs they put on record. I have some issues with this list... the numbers point to Chick-fil-A as the slowest in Iowa. I guess it makes sense since they are so popular, but they move people through so quickly. Still, you wait there the longest. 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.

The Fastest Drive-Thru

Taco Bell takes the number one spot when it comes to speed. You only spend 222 seconds in the line. 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.

Philadelphia Area Taco Bell Restaurants Close Following E. Coli Warning
Getty Images

The Full List

Here are the fastest spots:

  • 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

Do you agree with this list? Let us know...