Does it feel like you’ve spent more time in line at restaurant drive-thrus this year? You are not alone.
A study released recently by SeeLevel HX, a customer experience measurement company, found wait times for receiving a drive-thru order increased by more than 25 seconds in 2021.
The study classifies the total time customers wait for an order from the moment they enter the drive-thru to the moment they get their order. The study found drive-thru customers waited an average of six minutes, 22 seconds. Last year, it was five minutes, 57 seconds.
The research involved nearly 1,500 drive-thru visits between July and August 2021 to 10 major fast-food brands including McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’.
Each order included a hot sandwich, side order, a drink and a special request. The study was spread across three meals: lunch (60%), dinner (29%) and breakfast (12%).
Inaccurate orders also increased from 13% last year to 15% in 2021, said the study. In a statement, Lisa van Kesteren, CEO of SeeLevel HX, cites pandemic-induced pressures such as supply chain challenges and a tight labor market.
“Unfortunately, it’s not surprising to see delays and an increase in inaccurate orders,” said van Kesteren.
The study found that of the 10 big fast food brands, Chick-fil-A ranked first in order accuracy this year, followed by Taco Bell and a three-way tie between Arby’s, Burger King and Carl’s Jr.
The increase in drive-thru times and inaccurate order comes as the U.S. faces a significant labor shortage sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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