No. 2: Taco Bell. The Irvine, Calif.-based Mexican-inspired chain was about 9 seconds faster this year. The Yum Brands division logged a total time of 310.2 seconds in 2020 compared to 319.3 seconds in 2019. While it was less than a 10-second improvement, that was enough to catapult the brand from its No. 8 ranking in 2019 to No. 2 this year.
What’s going on? At the beginning of the pandemic, some Taco Bell restaurants stopped serving breakfast. The chain told NRN this week that the breakfast menu is "slowly" rolling back systemwide.
Taco Bell has also trimmed its menu a few times over the past 12 months in a move to declutter the menu. Two major trims came in September 2019 and August 2020, where more than 20 items were eliminated from the menu. The brand plans to trim more items in November.
Jen Somers, vice president of global operations services for Taco Bell, said internal data indicates that the brand's drive-thru lanes are about 15 seconds faster as a result of recent menu changes.
"Our menu evolution efforts have not only allowed us to make more room for future innovations, but combined with increased digital efforts, have simplified our guests’ overall journey in our drive-thrus, from ordering to pick-up," Somers told NRN.