Drive-Thru Performance Study Released: Wendy's Is Still The Fastest

Research for study produced by Insula Research and QSR magazine declares winners for Speed, Accuracy, Customer Service, and more.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Since 1998 researchers across the country have undertaken thousands of drive-thru mystery shops each year with one goal in mind: to establish how quick-service restaurant chains are performing in the all-important drive-thru operation.  The Drive-Thru Performance Study evaluates drive-thru operations for a benchmark group of restaurant chains, which includes Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Krystal, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Wendy's. These chains were chosen as benchmarks for their overall strong performance since the study began in 1998. In addition, the group includes a seventh chain that changes from year to year; in 2012, that chain is Bojangles.

QSR magazine published top-line results of the study for the benchmark group in its October 2012 issue. Results published include average service time, order accuracy, customer service, exterior appearance, and more.

Wendy's once again proved to be the fastest drive-thru in the industry, while Burger King posted the slowest Time of Service average.

"Researchers enter the drive thru with a stopwatch and begin recording times for specific customer touch points," says Insula Research President, Brian Baker.  "Time of Service is measured from the moment of reaching the Order station to the time it takes to complete the transaction at the Pick-up window."

By averaging the times during 318 visits to Wendy's across America, Insula Research found that Wendy's was 20 seconds faster than second-place Taco Bell.  Wendy's has finished in the top spot, or very near it, for most of the study's history, which began in 1898.  Burger King finished last in the Time of Service category.  All restaurants in the survey were visited an average of 300 times.  Insula researchers time their own journey through the drive-thru, as well as the progress from a randomly selected vehicle in line.  In all, more than 4,000 timing studies were conducted at over 2,000 fast-food restaurants.

Chick-fil-a is the Friendliest brand in the survey, as well as the most likely to get a customer's order correct.  "Chick-fil-a does a really nice job with our Customer Service category," says A.J. Fox, Marketing Director for Insula Research.  "We ask researchers to report their interaction with the employees as Very Friendly, Pleasant, Average, Mechanical, or Rude."

Surprisingly, the word "Please" is rarely used in the drive-thru process.  "Which is a little strange considering they are asking you for your hard earned money," says Fox.

Media Contact: A.J. Fox Insula Research, Inc., 614-334-2616,

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SOURCE Insula Research, Inc.



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