Which Fast Food Chain is Offers the Fastest Drive Thru? (Spoiler Alert: It’s Taco Bell)



It’s no secret that the fast-food industry suffered a lot because of the pandemic and the resulting social distancing necessity. For most fast-food locations, the only way to do business was with the drive thru and with delivery service.

For many fast-food joints, the speed and efficiency of the drive thru were all crucial for their continued survival. Plenty of people wanted brisk service, and the customer is often right. Plus, efficiency benefited the restaurants directly. The faster they served the orders, the more sales they were able to generate.

So, which ones were the fastest with the drive thru service? Here’s a list of the places where you can go in and out without too much wasted time.

Taco Bell (Average Waiting Time: 4 minutes, 28 seconds)

Taco Bell is the most popular name in the fast-casual Mexican food segment, with thousands of locations all over the globe. They offer quick service with low prices, which is why the price of crunchy taco is $1.44 only.

If your first priority is to get your order the fastest, then you go to Taco Bell drive-thru. It’s the place with the least amount of waiting.

And Taco Bell isn’t resting on its laurels, either. They’re actually taking steps to make lots of improvements to their drive thru service. They plan on opening a new restaurant design with a more efficient drive thru, probably by 2022. The new design will feature up to 4 lanes for the drive thru service along with vertical food lifts. There will even be some video chatting with the drive-thru staff.

The current speed, however, is a bit detrimental for the order accuracy. They only get the order completely right 86.7% of the time. That means that about 1 in 8 orders may have a mistake, and that can take a while to fix.

KFC (Average Waiting Time: 4 minutes, 32 seconds)

The waiting time is only 4 seconds slower compared to Taco Bell, so it isn’t all that bad. It’s not surprising that KFC has done a lot to improve their drive thru service. After all, in the first few months of 2021, the drive thru generated almost 80% of the business for KFC. This is one cash cow that KFC wants to take care of.

They’re also taking steps in improving the drive-thru layout, and they’re planning a new design as well. They will offer double lanes for the drive thru, which isn’t bad. It’s not as many lanes as the new Taco Bell restaurant design, but it’s still better than a single lane.

Hardees and Carl’s Jr. (Average Waiting Time: 4 minutes, 46 seconds)

These are sister brands, so we just set them up together on this list. They’re not slow with their drive-thru service, as you get your order at an average of just 18 seconds slower than Taco Bell.

What makes these restaurant drive-thru services really special is that they’re quick, and impressively accurate as well. They get the orders completely right 95.7 % of the time. That means only about 1 in 20 orders will have a mistake.

Their drive-thru service now come with digital menu boards as well. This feature is a hit with the younger patrons, so they’re doing their best in grooming future fans.

Dunkin’ (Average Waiting Time: 4 minutes, 55 seconds)

This is a familiar stop for plenty of office workers. You get on your way to work, and you stop along the way for some of the great coffee that Dunkin’ is famous for offering. And while you’re at it, you enjoy some of the donuts as well.

Waiting for almost 5 minutes may seem tiresome, but that’s actually among the fastest in the drive-thru arena. You can always fiddle around with your smartphone or tablet, so the wait doesn’t seem that long.

And it’s not just the speed of the service that makes this drive-thru a hit. Most patrons note that the staff here is quite friendly and pleasant, which is always nice. You don’t want to encounter grumpy staff people so early in the morning, not when you’re grumpy yourself before your first cup of coffee.

McDonald’s (Average Waiting Time: 5 minutes, 11 seconds)

It can be quite galling to realize that waiting for more than 5 minutes is actually one of the most efficient drive-thru experiences around. McDonald’s has improved their drive-thru a lot over the years, and especially as a result of the pandemic.

Their accuracy isn’t really something they brag about, although their 91% accuracy is actually better than Taco Bell’s. But McDonald’s is planning on using advanced AI tech to boost both speed and accuracy in the near future.

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