When it comes to fast-food restaurants, Chick-fil-A is America’s favorite, according to this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Report.

But as far as getting your food served up in a hurry, how do these restaurants compare?

QSR Magazine, which tracks the limited-service restaurant segment, made just under 2,000 visits to 15 quick service and fast casual chains to find out the answer to that question.

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The annual study revealed that drive-thrus are getting slightly slower, averaging 226 seconds (3.7 minutes) per transaction.

Taking a look at speed of service alone, Wendy’s was the best and Starbucks fared the worst, researchers discovered. McDonald’s and other popular chains landed somewhere in the middle.

Speed of service (average time in seconds)


Each drive-thru order placed by the researchers consisted of one main item, one side item and one beverage. Researchers paid with cash so that it wouldn’t affect the timing.

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In addition to calculating the speed of service, the study found an average order accuracy of 90% across all brands.

Accuracy (percent accurate)


Researchers had a few key takeaways from the study:

  1. Many restaurants are leveraging technology to reduce transaction times, whether it’s a double drive-thru or employees in line with remote ordering.
  2. Despite these advances, transaction times have increased slightly from last year.
  3. Restaurants consistently struggle with both speed of service and accuracy once the drive-thru line grows to over three cars long.
These are America’s fastest (and most accurate) drive-thru restaurants

Mike Timmermann,