'Gourmet' Grub Slowing Down Drive-Thrus

You want a 12-ingredient menu item, you'll have to wait for that

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 1, 2013 9:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – As fast food menu items get increasingly "gourmet"—or at least complex—drive-thru windows are getting slower, according to a report from a fast-food industry trade publication. The QSR Magazine annual study also found that McDonald's had its worst year yet, with customers waiting an average of 189.5 seconds between ordering their food and picking it up. The industry average is about nine seconds shorter than that, USA Today reports. If you're really in a hurry, Wendy's had the best average: 133.6 seconds.

"The operational pressures to assemble [complicated premium] items are slowing down the drive-thru," says the QSR editor. (Taco Bell told the magazine its new Cantina Bell bowls can have as many as 12 ingredients; we're not sure what the other seven are.) Plus, the editor adds, some companies are purposely slowing down the drive-thru process so orders can be double-checked for accuracy, since customers would rather wait a few more seconds than drive away without their Doritos Locos Taco. Amusingly, drive-thru order accuracy was 87.2% this year, compared to 88.8% last year.

A Carl's Jr. employee gives a customer change through a drive-thru window in San Diego on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.
A Carl's Jr. employee gives a customer change through a drive-thru window in San Diego on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/Sam Hodgson)
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