The Most Popular UK Drive-Thru Is No Surprise

Traveling to the United Kingdom is not all tea and crumpets and rubbing elbows with the royal family. Codswallop, you say? Well, think again. The English also have their affinity for the much-beloved drive-thru culture that America has been popularizing since McDonald's opened the country's first drive-thru, 35 years ago in Fallowfield, Manchester. Per the BBC, back in 1986, the drive-thru was something "exotic," but it eventually found a fan base. Fast forward to the present, and eating on the go has permeated world cultures and become as ubiquitous as ordering up a Big Mac and fries to eat in the car as families rush from one activity to the next.

Recently, Pentagon Motor Group (PMG) released findings that revealed the preferences of the UK's fast food-loving, drive-thru patrons. While the king of the mountain probably won't surprise many in the U.S., who made the list might. According to a press release sent to Mashed, PMG shared that, whether propelled by the quarantine or just lifestyle choices, people in the U.K. are still "lovin' it," with McDonald's claiming the coveted crown for the most popular drive-thru. Yep, even in the UK, Big Macs, McNuggets, and McFlurries reign supreme. And while the Golden Arches should be chuffed to bits, McDonald's should probably be checking over its shoulder every now and then, because coffee sirens Costa, which is London-based, and Starbucks are slowly catching up, leaving KFC and Burger King in the dust.

Only two in the top 10 were UK-based chains

Using Google search data, PMG discovered that 11 million searches were performed by people trying to locate drive-thru options in the last year, with McDonald's having almost twice as many searches as next in line, caffeine fixer Costa. But what many may find truly eye-opening is the fact that of those fast-food chains listed in the top 10, only two were U.K. born: coffee giant, Costa, and bakery favorite Greggs. Greggs, coming in seventh place, found itself trailing the impossible to resist Krispy Kreme

Where in the UK are the largest groups of people clustered who are feeling McDonald's French fry love? Watford, which is Northwest of Central London. Per Trip Advisor, Watford is about 50 minutes from the big city and is home to the recently relegated soccer team Watford F.C. It also has the greatest amount of drive-thru fanatics per capita. UK towns Bournemouth, Chester, and Stockport were not too far behind in this fondness for the convenience of the drive-thru. And if you wonder who is noshing down on these favorite brands, per 2019/2020 data compiled by Statista, if you are between the ages of 18 and 24 living in the UK, you are probably checking out some type of fast food at least once a week.