This Fast Food Restaurant Still Has The Slowest Drive-Thru

Usually, when someone gets called out for doing poorly at something, they're going to want to fix it. If a teenager gets a bad grade on an algebra quiz, they're probably going to study harder and do better next time. When you get a not-so-great performance review at work, you double your efforts and try to turn it around. So why is one fast food restaurant consistently failing when it comes to the speed of its drive-thru service? 

Last year, we let you know that Chick-fil-A's drive-thru was the slowest in the industry, with an average speed of 322.98 seconds per order. Despite being called out by everyone from NBC to CNN, Chick-fil-A hasn't turned it around at all this year. In fact, according to SeeLevel HX's annual drive-thru study, the Atlanta-based chicken chain now has an even longer wait time than last year, clocking in at 488.8 seconds — more than eight minutes.

Because of the pandemic, many drive-thrus have become slower — average drive-thru times have slowed about half a minute in the last year (via CNBC). Still, Chick-fil-A remains by far the slowest. The next slowest drive-thru, Arby's, is over a minute and a half quicker, and the quickest, KFC, is almost twice as fast. 

Still popular in spite of the wait times

Despite the fact that Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thru times, customers rate it number one out of seventeen drive-thru options for order accuracy, staff friendliness, and — super strangely — the speed of service (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Forbes points out that one of the reasons behind this disparity is that the study started its clock once the order was placed. Because of Chick-fil-A's long lines, they'll often try to speed things along by taking your order "further upstream," when you're still a few cars back in line. That means that the wait time for Chick-fil-A, while you're still in line, might be measured against other drive-thrus' waits once you're already at the window. 

Plus, Chick-fil-A's accuracy and friendliness scores bump up the wait time a little. "We know when you're at the drive-thru that speed is everything, but so is making sure you have an accurate meal and making sure we add in our hospitality," Khalilah Cooper, the chain's director of service and hospitality, explained to Forbes. You may be waiting a little longer, but you're getting a kinder and more conscientious drive-thru experience. So if you don't mind the employee discrimination, high sodium, and substandard fries, order away.