Market research agency and mystery shopping company SeeLevel HX has released its 20th annual QSR Drive-Thru study, a breakdown of drive-thru performance from 10 major quick-service restaurant brands. The study also ranks each brand in four categories: accuracy, customer service, taste and speed. SeeLevel has analyzed brand performance of the same 10 quick-service chains over the past several years: Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, Arby’s, Burger King, Dunkin’, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Taco Bell, Wendy’s and KFC.
Of course, in 2020, the study has taken a different turn, as customer reliance on drive-thru has spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges during the pandemic, the study revealed that some high-performing drive-thru brands remained competitive, like Chick-fil-A, which has ranked highly in almost every factor in multiple studies. However, there were some surprises, like Wendy’s and Taco Bell, which dropped in the rankings in multiple categories, reflecting that for some brands, the harmful effects of the pandemic may have affected their quality of service significantly.
Read on to learn exactly where each of the 10 brands highlighted placed in each of the four categories of drive-thru quality.
Participants in the study ordered food through the drive-thru at locations of each of the chains studied across the country between June and August 2020. 1,490 total quick-service drive-thru visits were made, with most orders (54.8%) taking place during lunch hours.
Total Time equals wait and service times combined. There were an average of 3.2 vehicles in line when a car pulled into a drive-thru during the survey period, which took place in various parts of the country from the end of June through early August.