New Study Reveals Fast Food Chains With The Fastest And Slowest Drive-Thrus

Have you ever wondered which fast-food restaurant has the fastest drive-thru? Or which fast-food chain messes up your order the most? And which restaurant employees are the most polite?

Armed with these questions, researchers visited fast-food restaurants across the country in order to study their speed, accuracy, politeness and other factors related to their drive-thrus. Researchers recorded 1,948 visits to 15 different restaurants. Their findings were reported in a new study by QSR, a quick service restaurant trade publication.

Below are the results from the 2016 study:

Fastest Drive-Thru: Wendy’s

Drive-thru customers at Wendy’s will only have to wait 169.1 seconds from the moment they stop at the order station to the moment they receive their food. Wendy’s was the only restaurant to break the three-minute mark, as the next fastest was Dunkin’ Donuts, with an average service time of 181.03 seconds.


Slowest Drive-Thru: Starbucks

If you’re waiting on your Pumpkin Spice Latte, expect to wait six minutes for your drink. Starbucks was the slowest drive-thru, with an average wait time of 299.8 seconds.

Flickr | marcopako 

Most Accurate: Carl’s Jr.

Your order at Carl’s Jr. will most likely be correct, even if you order extra fries. Carl’s Jr. got the customer’s order right 96.7 percent of the time, and second-place Chick-Fil-A was accurate 94.5 percent of the time.

carls jr photo
Getty Images | Dave Rowland

RELATED: Fast Food Workers Share The Things They Would Never Order (Plus Other Tips)

Least Accurate: Panera Bread

Be careful ordering from Panera Bread, because you might not get your bread bowl. Panera Bread was accurate once every five trips (82.6 percent).

panera photo
Getty Images | Scott Olson

Most Polite:

Chick-Fil-A employees were more likely to say “please” (61.8 percent of orders) and “thank you” (95.2 percent of orders). They also smiled more often (90.9 percent) than other drive-thru restaurants.

Relative newcomer PDQ also competed well in the politeness category, as employees were more likely to make eye contact and have a pleasant demeanor at the drive-thru window.

Chick-Fil-A photo
Getty Images | Alex Wong

Least Polite: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s (tie)

burger king photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Employees at McDonald’s and Burger King were in the bottom-third in all categories of politeness: saying “please” and “thank you,” making eye contact, and having a pleasant demeanor. Even though Wendy’s has the fastest drive-thru service, their employees were deemed polite just 5.4 percent of the time. Hey, you can’t win ’em all, can you?

wendys photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

You can check out more statistics from the study, like which drive-thrus looked presentable and which restaurants asked if you wanted fries with that, on the QSR website.

RELATED: Here’s Why McDonald’s Coke Tastes Better

mcdonald photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan