Taco Bell has the fastest drive-thru, and its latest tech could get customers their orders even faster
- In a new report, Taco Bell's new drive-thru tech was the fastest in the industry.
- The report from QSR ranked 10 fast-food chain drive-thrus.
Taco Bell has the fastest drive-thru, and it's testing technology that could get customers their orders even faster.
A new report from restaurant publication QSR Magazine compared drive-thru experiences at ten of the top fast-food chains, including Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonald's, and KFC. Customer experience solutions company Intouch Insight conducted the study using mystery shoppers who visited each drive-thru to test speed and accuracy. The annual report has followed the same restaurants for 23 years.
Taco Bell had the fastest average service time, or the time it takes from an order taken to order received, at three minutes and 25 seconds. This marked the third straight year that Taco Bell had the fastest drive-thru.
In second place, Wendy's drive-thru had a three minute and 49 seconds average service time, and KFC came in third one second behind in average service time. McDonald's ranked eighth with a four minute and 51 second average service time, and Chick-fil-A ranked last with a five minute and 12 second average service time. The study's shoppers noted that Chick-fil-A consistently had the most cars in line. And Chick-fil-A had the fastest total time by cars in line, a figure that the study authors came to by dividing the average total time by the average number of cars in line.
The study also tested three pilot programs that aim to make drive-thrus faster.
Taco Bell's Defy drive-thru in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, has four lanes and a contactless delivery system. Chick-fil-A's drive-thru in Alpharetta, Georgia, has robots deliver orders. And a McDonald's prototype in Fort Worth, Texas, is designed for take-out and has a conveyor belt for picking up orders.
In the test of the new pilot programs, Taco Bell was also the fastest. The average service time was two minutes and 31 seconds. McDonald's came in second at three minutes and 49 seconds, and Chick-fil-A came last at four minutes and five seconds.
At Taco Bell, customers waited an average of 24 seconds to order, compared to one minute at Chick-fil-A and more than a minute and a half at McDonald's.
At the Cowen Future of the Consumer Conference in June, Yum! Brands chief financial officer Chris Turner said the company is "testing and piloting" ways AI could make Taco Bell's drive-thrus even faster and easier.
He added that automation could make employees' jobs easier and provide a faster customer experience.
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