Fast-Food Drive-Thrus Are Getting Slower, Study Shows

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If speed is of the essence, you might want to consider delaying your lunch break until the afternoon. That's when fast-food giants stay truest to their promise of speed, according to a new study. From 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., the average wait time at a fast food drive-thru clocked in just north of 173 seconds, according to QSR magazine's annual Drive-Thru Performance Study conducted with Insula Research. Right behind this came the breakfast period, where the average wait was nearly 175 seconds. Both segments are considerably faster than the average wait time of 203.29 seconds across the entire day.

"I think it's safe to say that the slowdown continues … that drive-thrus do appear to be getting slower," said Sam Oches, editor of QSR magazine. This year's average time at 23 brands is significantly slower than last year's average of 180.83 seconds, when only seven brands were included. Dialing back the speed has coincided with an increasing number of premium options, which can slow fast-food operators who rely on set processes and relatively simple items for getting food out the door quickly.


-- Katie Little, CNBC