Restaurant Drive-Thru Order Times Lengthen and Become Less Accurate

According to SeeLevel HX’s annual report, the average time spent sitting at a drive-thru has increased from 25 seconds a year ago, to a whopping 382 seconds! Additionally, order accuracy has dropped to 85%, down from 87% in 2020.

Using mystery shoppers, SeeLevel HX evaluated line times and order accuracy across 10 chains and 1,492 restaurant locations from July through early August in order to piece together their study. More than half of the orders were placed during lunch hours.

Fast-food chains have prided themselves on efficiency and accuracy for decades – it’s what makes them so appealing. The COVID-19 pandemic, despite making things tremendously more challenging for businesses to operate, heightened their importance. Restaurants slowly closed shop as in-house dining was shut down, forcing them to only offer take-out options. The quick-food experience was shot – but people still need to eat.

In August, drive-thru visits climbed 11% compared to two years ago and accounted for nearly half of off-premise orders, according to the NPD Group.

SeeLevel HX reports that Chick-fil-A topped the list when it came to order accuracy, with Yum Brands’ Taco Bell following shortly behind. Arby’s, Carl’s Jr. and Restaurant Brands International’s Burger King all tied for third place.

The restaurant industry continues to struggle in finding help, as many were furloughed at the beginning of the pandemic and do not wish to return to that line of work. In efforts to motivate those looking for work, many establishments have upped their wages. It goes without saying that the lack of workers has led to the increased wait times, and arguably, the lack of accuracy. Those new to the industry have a lot to learn when it comes to customer satisfaction.

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