Chick-Fil-A Just Made It Possible To Skip The Drive-Thru

As pleasant as it is to order meals face-to-face with Chick-fil-A's always cheerful crew, that's not the best option these days if it's even available at all. A lot of fast-food dining rooms are still closed across the U.S. as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. "Contactless" has become a buzzword with restaurants this year, Chick-fil-A included. Now the chicken outlet is announcing a new way to enjoy its popular food while limiting contact with employees as much as possible. And you don't even need to wait in line at the drive-thru.

Before, customers who wanted a digital option for ordering ahead could only turn to the Chick-fil-A One app, introduced in 2016 (via The Chicken Wire). Starting this week, customers can place that order online, at, according to a company news release. "Traditionally, customers have only been able to order catering on Online ordering now changes the game by providing the full menu for everyday purchases," a Chick-fil-A representative said in the statement.

So people who maybe don't have a smartphone but have access to a computer can order ahead and either save time at the drive-thru (hopefully) or skip the drive-thru altogether and opt for curbside pickup.

Chick-fil-A has the slowest drive-thru line in fast food

Customer use of drive-thrus at fast-food restaurants has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and so have drive-thru wait times (via QSR Web). Fast-food chains can speed up drive-thru times by expanding digital ordering options in smart ways, and Chick-fil-A is no doubt looking to improve its customers' drive-thru experience. 

A 2020 study by SeeLevel Hx found that overall wait times in the drive-thru lines at 10 selected fast-food chains increased about 30 seconds overall, with only three restaurants seeing improvement compared to 2019: KFC, Taco Bell, and McDonald's. Not only was Chick-fil-A among the other seven chains that had longer wait times this year, but Chick-fil-A has by far the slowest drive-thru of all 10 restaurant brands in the study. Chick-fil-A's average drive-thru wait time is 8 minutes and 9 seconds and is more than a minute and a half longer than the second-slowest chain in the study.

McDonald's improved the most this year, of the three chains that showed faster drive-thru times. The time spent in a McDonald's drive-thru dropped by almost 30 seconds on average, according to the SeeLevel HX study. The company said that the faster service was a result of simplifying its menu during the pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported.