The Real Reason You Should Skip Starbucks' Drive-Thru

The morning caffeine fix isn't a want but a need for a lot of folks and often times the drive-thru is the preferred option. Zipping into the Starbucks drive-thru is supposed to be about saving time and getting back on the road a little bit quicker. Is it really all that much faster though? While parking and walking inside to place your venti latte order (or to try one of their new spring drinks) might seem like the slower option, that may not actually be the case. 

Yes, the drive-thru might be the quicker alternative at some fast food places, but not at Starbucks. According to a report from Bloomberg, the drive-thru at Starbucks has some serious lag time compared to competitors. 

Starbucks has one of the slowest fast food drive-thrus

Both McDonald's and Dunkin' have Starbucks beat when it comes to drive-through speediness. Comparing coffee order drive-thru times, Dunkin' came out on top with an average order time of 2.90 minutes, while Starbucks was at the bottom just behind Panera with 4.44 minutes. 

Eighty percent of newer Starbucks stores in the U.S. now have drive-thrus, showing that the chain clearly wants to capitalize on the convenience of the drive-thru for their customers. This somewhat goes against the grain of the Starbucks appeal of the past that drew people into the chill coffeehouse atmosphere with cushy chairs and acoustic music playing throughout the store. "Most of the people that were going in there were going in and out," Tom Cook, a restaurant consultant who has worked with Starbucks said. "Things have changed — everybody is more into this ease and convenience and speed."

This lack of speed has led to the company's scores with drive-thru customers being what QSR Magazine called "average at best." All one needs to confirm this is a quick glance at social media which is littered with people complaining about long wait times. 

If your Starbucks parking lot is always too full to find a parking spot, you can use their app to place your drive-thru order ahead of time. As for the next best alternative... there's always the Dunkin' drive-thru.