Ordering a fast-food lunch from a hamburger chain? You can expect to wait at the drive-through lane about 204 seconds — or less than two minutes — before you receive your food.
And if you’re ordering from a fast-food restaurant that specializes in sandwiches? You’ll wait at the drive-through lane an average of just under 240 seconds before driving off with your meal.
Those are the results from the 2014 Drive-Thru Performance Study from trade magazine QSR.
That’s not very long. But it’s actually taking longer today for drivers to make their way through drive-though lanes. In its study, QSR points to more complex menus as part of the reason. Fast-food chains today are under pressure to add healthier and tastier items to their menus. It takes longer to make these items, so diners have to wait a few seconds longer to nab their breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Overall, the 2014 study found that drivers waited an average of 203.29 seconds in drive-though lanes before receiving their food. To put that in perspective, that’s an average of not even four minutes in the drive-through lane for consumers. That’s incredibly fast.
Which fast-food restaurant is the fastest when it comes to getting consumers through the drive-through? Traditionally, it has been Wendy’s. In the 2013 study, consumers waited an average of 133.63 seconds in the drive-through lane.
And if you want to get through the drive-though lane as fast as possible? Try hitting your favorite fast-food chain during the middle part of the afternoon, after lunch and before dinner. QSR reported that the average drive-through time during the mid-afternoon snack period was 173.39 seconds across all surveyed locations.