Chick-Fil-A Just Lost Its Crown For Fastest Drive-Thru

Chick-fil-A has done a lot for their drive-thrus, or really, for their drive-thru customers. There was the Chick-fil-A that tried to pay employees in food after their new Drive-Thru Express eased pressure on surrounding roadways but increased pressure on employees, according to Vice. The desperate Henderson, N.C. location called for volunteers to help direct traffic in their bursting-at-the-seems drive-thru lanes. The Henderson, N.C. branch's actions were in turn only a response to the company-wide roll-out of the Chick-fil-A Drive-Thru Express. Per Restaurant Dive, the new system promised to speed up orders as well as make the process more organized.

Tested at 60 locations nationwide in 2022 with the potential to move to more locations next year, the new approach has customers order through the app, select their location and Drive-Thru Express, and then pick up their order from a second, dedicated drive-thru lane for mobile orders (via Fox Business). But despite making these efforts to improve their drive-thrus, Chick-fil-A still lost this year to the new fastest drive-thru game in town, according to Intouch Insight.

Kentucky fried chicken, fast

While Chick-fil-A may have carried the crown for the past two years, this year KFC was named the fastest in the 2022 annual Drive-Thru Study from Intouch Insight. The consumer study used 1,537 secret shopper drive-thru trips to determine the winner. KFC won for having the shortest end-to-end time spent in line, from the moment a passenger enters the drive-thru to the time they exit, but the category doesn't take into account the number of cars waiting in line. The lowest wait time per car in line was actually Chick-fil-A, which swept a number of other categories. Chick-fil-A had the longest average wait times and the longest average service times, but they also had the longest lines on average.

Hardee's had the shortest wait time, averaging only 51 seconds, and Taco Bell, who won second fastest overall, had the shortest service time. Looking for a short line? Head to Carl's Jr or Hardee's. KFC came in only slightly behind the tied restaurants with an average line slightly below two cars, giving insight into why it's the best choice for the shopper in a hurry.

We'll have to wait and see if Chick-fil-A's drive-thru will become more efficient to reclaim its crown next year.