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Yes, you actually are waiting longer at the drive-thru

A new study suggests you’re waiting longer for your fast-food burger

SHARE Yes, you actually are waiting longer at the drive-thru
A Chick-fil-A customer gets ready to order lunch.

A Chick-fil-A customer gets ready to order lunch in Midvale on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. Wait times in restaurant drive-thrus are on the rise in 2021, USA Today reports.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Wait times in restaurant drive-thrus are on the rise in 2021, USA Today reports.

A new study from SeeLevel HX, a customer service experience company, found that drive-thru wait times jumped by 25 seconds in 2021.

The wait times were based off “the total time customers wait for an order from the moment they enter the drive-thru to the moment they get their order,” USA Today reports.

  • In 2020, people waited 5 minutes, 57 seconds.
  • In 2021, people waited 6 minutes, 22 seconds.

To find this data, the study reviewed about 1,500 drive-thru visits from July to August 2021 at fast-food joints including Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and Dunkin, among others.

For control, each order included a sandwich, side order, drink and a special request. The majority of the visits were during lunchtime (60%).

  • Dinner and breakfast represented 20% and 12% of the visits, respectively, per USA Today.

Wait times might not matter that much for customers wanting fast-food. For example, a  2021 QSR drive-thru study found that Chick-fil-A’s wait time lasts 541 seconds (more than 9 minutes). But the chain had better accuracy and customer service rankings in that same study.

Drive-thrus played a vital role in the last year and a half during the coronavirus pandemic. As restaurants closed their dining rooms, people flocked to the drive-thru to secure some food, according to Business Insider.

  • “With consumers eating more fast-food than ever, speed is no longer the defining metric of a drive-thru’s success,” Business Insider reports.