A buyer views a digital menu on the drive-thru exterior a McDonald’s restaurant in Peru, Illinois.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Photographs
Restaurant drive-thrus have turn out to be slower and fewer correct in 2021, in accordance with SeeLevel HX’s annual report.
The typical whole time spent within the drive-thru lane elevated by greater than 25 seconds from a yr in the past to 382 seconds. In contrast with pre-pandemic instances, that is almost a minute longer. Order accuracy dropped to 85% this yr from 87% in 2020.
SeeLevel HX used thriller customers to attend in drive-thru strains throughout 10 chains and 1,492 restaurant areas from July by early August to compile the annual research. Greater than half of the orders positioned occurred throughout lunch hours.
Drive-thru instances and accuracy have been key efficiency metrics for fast-food chains for many years, however the coronavirus pandemic has heightened their significance. As eating places shuttered their eating rooms, clients turned to drive-thru lanes to choose up their tacos and fries.
The development hasn’t disappeared at the same time as many shoppers bought vaccinated, and the resurgence of latest Covid-19 instances pushed by the delta variant has given it additional endurance. In August, drive-thru visits climbed 11% in contrast with the identical time two years in the past and accounted for 41% of off-premise orders, in accordance with The NPD Group.
In keeping with SeeLevel HX, Chick-fil-A topped the listing for order accuracy, adopted by Yum Manufacturers’ Taco Bell. Arby’s, Carl’s Jr. and Restaurant Manufacturers Worldwide’s Burger King all tied for third place.
This yr, the agency didn’t publicly launch the rankings for which fast-food chains had the quickest drive-thru lanes. In 2020, Taco Bell’s sister chain KFC topped the listing.
The research gives one solution to pace up drive-thru instances and enhance accuracy: put money into know-how. SeeLevel HX discovered that drive-thru lanes with digital order affirmation boards delivered the meals to clients 34 seconds quicker on common this yr.
Whereas drive-thru enterprise is booming, fast-food chains are struggling to seek out sufficient prepared staff to employees their eating places. Many chains have turned to climbing wages to draw and retain staff. Wages for hourly fast-food restaurant staff climbed 10% within the second quarter in contrast with a yr in the past, in accordance with a report from business tracker Black Field Intelligence and Snagajob. The labor crunch may very well be one cause for the drag on drive-thru instances and accuracy this yr.
One other potential clarification for the lag in drive-thru instances in contrast with a yr in the past may very well be the return of longer menus. Many fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell drastically reduce their menus throughout lockdowns to maintain their smaller workforce from getting overwhelmed. Nonetheless, as economies reopened, chains started steadily including some menu objects again, though most took the chance to cull their choices completely.