Drive-thru times at fast-food chains slow by nearly 30 seconds as demand soars

As consumers increasingly pick up their fast-food orders from the comfort of their car, average drive-thru times across 10 chains slowed down by nearly half a minute, according to an annual study conducted by SeeLevel HX.

Drive-thru lanes have always been an important feature for fast-food restaurants, but the coronavirus pandemic has heavily shifted consumer preferences in favor of the easy pick-up option, which also appears more safe to consumers. Drive-thru visits increased by 26% in April, May and June, according to data from the NPD Group. Taco Bell said that it served an additional 4.8 million cars through its drive-thru lanes during its second quarter.

The abrupt change in consumer behavior has motivated restaurant chains like Starbucks and Chipotle Mexican Grill to add more drive-thru lanes to their restaurants.

Total average drive-thru times slowed down by 29.8 seconds this year, weighed down by longer wait times, according to SeeLevel

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