The kitchens of fast food restaurants continue to focus on speed, but the overall pace of the industry is slowing down. The efficiency of the drive-thru system in particularly is starting to suffer. New research conducted by QSR shows that chains are making customers wait an average of 8 seconds longer for their orders now. McDonald’s in particular is gaining seconds steadily each year, but they’re still managing to complete drive-thru orders faster than competitors like Burger King. Wendy’s came out on top of the speed list for 2014.
Of course, the drive-thru response times vary depending on the time of day. Afternoon visitors got the fastest service, receiving their orders in about 175 seconds on average. This was followed by breakfast visits, with dinner orders taking the longest to complete. It’s an unusual trend because dinner is actually the least busy time for the fast food industry. It turns out that fast food speeds up during peak ordering times instead of slowing down. Big chains like McDonald’s are concerned about their slipping speeds in the drive-thru, so they’re working hard to reverse the trend. The company is even trying out a one minute guarantee in Florida.