Study: Fast Food Has Gotten A Bit Slower | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Study: Fast Food Has Gotten A Bit Slower

Play associated audio

Fast food, it turns out, isn't quite as fast as it used to be.

A new study finds that McDonald's posted its slowest drive-through times since this survey was first conducted 15 years ago.

At McDonald's, customers will spend on average 3 minutes and 9 seconds from the time they place their orders until they receive their food. That's about 10 seconds more than the industry average — and a lot slower than a decade ago, according to the study, which was commissioned by QSR, an industry trade publication.

And McDonald's wasn't alone in slowing down: Other chains, like Chick-fil-A, also saw their drive-through performance slow down.

Among the reasons for the more sluggish service: Today there are more choices on the menu, and the products themselves are more complex — flavored lattes, smoothies and salad bowls, for example. All of that can take longer to prepare and adds to the time spent waiting in the drive-through line.

Speed, of course, is essential to the drive-through experience, and drive-throughs are hugely important to chains such as McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell.

"Usually the drive-through accounts for 60 percent or 70 percent of all business that goes through a fast-food restaurant," notes Sam Oches, editor of QSR.

Of course, consumers also want their orders prepared correctly and on that score, Oches says, "accuracy is still really high."

The American quest for speed and convenience is now prompting some so-called fast casual chains like Panera to expand their drive-through offerings.

"It's a defensive thing, if nothing else," says Bob Goldin, an executive vice president with food and restaurant industry research firm Technomic. As Goldin puts it, you don't want to lose a customer who's in a hurry.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

No Small Feat: The NBA's Shortest Player Never Gave Up

At 5 foot 3, Muggsy Bogues holds the record as shortest player in NBA history. Criticism of his height started on the basketball courts of the Baltimore projects, and continued well into his career.
NPR

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

Around the world, new gin distilleries are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. NPR traces the boom to its historic roots in London, which once had 250 distilleries within the city limits alone.
NPR

Ranting And Throwing Papers: An Angry Candidate Runs For Congress

State Rep. Mike Bost's rants on the Illinois House floor are the stuff viral dreams are made of. Bost says he has good reason to be upset, and wants voters to share his anger.
NPR

Israel's Solar-Powered 'Trees': For Smartphones And Community

The man-made trees are designed to create a public space where people can gather and re-charge a battery — their own and their smartphone's.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.