Chick-fil-A Dethroned as America’s Fastest Drive-Thru

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Bad news for Chick-fil-A. The popular fast-food restaurant chain has been officially dethroned as America’s fastest drive-thru.

CX solutions company Intouch Insight stated it does a yearly drive-thru study that analyzes the top fast-food chains across numerous categories, including the fastest drive-thru. The results are notably based on reviews of more than 1,500 drive-thrus that belong to 10 different fast-food chains. They are Arby’s, Burger King, Carls Jr., Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’, Hardee’s, KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s. 

KFC has been dubbed the fastest drive-thru for 2022, replacing the 2021 winner Chick-fil-A. Intouch Insight revealed that the average time in the drive-thru is nearly 10 seconds faster compared to last year. The key factors in the change in speed are pre-sell menu boards, order accuracy, and friendliness. Chick-fil-A came in second in the category, with McDonald’s and Taco following behind. 

Although it did not win in the fastest title this year, Chick-fil-A still continues to lead in satisfaction with the level of service. Carl’s Jr. tied with Chick-fil-A on customer satisfaction. 

Laura Livers, Head of Strategic Growth at Intouch Insight, shared her thoughts about this year’s results. “We’ve all heard that a smile goes a long way, and in quick service that certainly rings true. While it stands to logic that happier associates lead to better customer experiences, the true financial and operational impact of unfriendly service is staggering.”

Livers also said that friendliness has dropped in the food industry. However, companies that “crack the code” on employee satisfaction and training are able to drive better customer service. Livers also praised the study as being an “industry benchmark” for top drive-thru brands. “The drive-thru remains a staple in food service,” Livers noted. “And today’s quick serve restaurants are making huge strides towards greater innovation and convince in the space.” 

Chick-fil-A CEO Stated 30% of Customers Drive Away Because of long Drive-Thru Lines 

In September 2011, the former CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, spoke to the Atlanta Business Chronicle about how long drive thru lines impacts the company’s chains. 

“We estimate about 30% of the people are driving off, driving away, because the lines are so long,” Cathy explained. He also said that opening another location a mile or two away from a busy restaurant does not help. “We found that doesn’t solve the problem. It is a huge well, which makes us realize how much growth potential we still have here in the U.S.”

Despite customers ditching the long drive thru lines, Cathy says that the business is just performing great. This means it is time to give the reigns to his son, Andrew. “It’s an easy time to pass that baton, and it’s a time in which I very clear, especially after this last year, felt that Andrew was very much ready for this. We were able to see his leadership being to emerge.”