Drive-thru orders take longer, are less accurate this year compared to 2020, study finds

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Drive-thru orders not only took longer on average in 2021 than 2020, but were also more likely to be wrong, according to a study.

The study was conducted by SeeLevel HX, a research company that works with a “panel of more than half a million mystery shoppers” to evaluate businesses.

The SeeLevel HX study compared speed of service, accuracy, customer service, and food quality at 1,492 drive-thrus across the United States between July and early August. There were 10 brands included in the study:

  • Arby’s
  • Burger King
  • Carl’s Jr
  • Chick-fil-a
  • Dunkin
  • Hardee’s
  • KFC
  • McDonald’s
  • Taco Bell
  • Wendy’s

The study found that on average, speed of service at drive-thrus got 25.59 seconds slower when compared to 2020. 51% of the people in the study said the speed of service was about what was expected, while 30% said it was faster than expected and 19% said it was slower than expected.

The study also found that 15% of orders were inaccurate, which is up from 13% in 2020. Out of the 10 brands in the study, Chick-fil-a was found to be the most accurate, followed by Taco Bell at second, and a three-way tie for third between Arby’s, Burger King, and Carl’s Jr. Chick-fil-a also ranked first for main entrée rating in 2021.

The study found that friendliness continues to decline. 73% of participants rated the service as friendly compared to 76% in 2020 and 79% in 2019.

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