Rude? Friendly? Here’s How Your Favorite Fast-Food Drive-Thru Ranks

Female staff at McDonald's deliver food to customers through the door of the car at the pick up point in Bangkok, Thailand


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drive thru

Service With a Smile?

Have you muddled through the Burger King drive-thru lately? It probably took you awhile. The burger giant is among the slowest of the major chains when it comes to drive-thru times — and it's about to streamline its menu to help speed up service. But according to QSR Magazine's Drive-Thru Study, it's still not the worst major drive-thru, both when rated by speed alone or friendliness of service. Here's how 10 major chains rate on factors including customer service, order accuracy, and speed of service, as evaluated by more than 1,000 customers in July 2021.

Related: KFC Lures Customers to Dump the Drive-Thru — With Free Fries

Wendy's Retail Location. Wendy's is an International Fast Food Restaurant Chain.

10. Wendy’s

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 44.1%

Ohio-based Wendy’s hasn’t gotten the memo on Midwestern hospitality, at least when it comes to the drive-thru. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do any better with order accuracy, getting orders correct only 85.3% of the time, placing it dead last in that category. It ranks sixth for speed of service, filling orders in an average of 341 seconds. 

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Niagara Falls, Ontario,  Canada - August 11, 2019: A  Burger King restaurant; Burger King (BK) is an American global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants.

9. Burger King

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 47.3%

BK is second-to-last when it comes to drive-thru customer service, and it ranks only seventh for speed of service, taking 359 seconds to fill orders. That may not be for long — the chain has announced it will be dropping menu items to speed up drive-thru service times, though what items will get booted remains to be seen. "We got too slow, and we need to address that,” says Jose Cil, CEO of parent company Restaurant Brands International. The good news: BK was one of the best chains when it comes to order accuracy in QSR's study, getting orders right more than 97% of the time and notching a second-place finish in that category. 

Related: Fast Food Deals to Feed the Whole Family 

Arby’s | Best Fast Food Chain For The Meats And Megabytes

8. Arby’s

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 47.6%

Arby’s may have the meats, but it doesn’t have many smiling faces. In fact, it’s the only chain where customers judged the service downright “rude” 5% of the time. Speed of service was also nothing to write home about, with the chain coming in eighth and taking 374 seconds, or a bit over 6 minutes, to fill orders. Arby’s fares slightly better with order accuracy, ranking fourth in that category. 

Related: New Fast Food Items You Can Try This Month

Tim Gray/istockphoto

7. Dunkin’

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 55.5%

The crew at Dunkin’ may need to drink a little more coffee, coming in at a yawn-inducing No. 7 for drive-thru service. The doughnut chain does just slightly better with order accuracy, ranking sixth. It notches a No. 4 finish for speed of service, filling orders in an average of 295 seconds, or just under 5 minutes. 

KFC Chicken restaurant. Kentucky Fried Chicken is offering Uber and Door Dash delivery and drive thru service during social distancing.

6. KFC

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 59.2%

Colonel Sanders’ crew scores a solidly “meh” sixth place for service and fares worse when it comes to order accuracy, coming in at No. 7 with a bit over 92% of orders correct. But there’s a bright spot: It’s the second-fastest drive thru, speeding customers through in an average of 272 seconds, or about 4½ minutes. 

Taco Bell

5. Taco Bell

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 60%

Though solidly in the middle on customer service, Taco Bell was able to satisfy customers’ cravings in short order. It ranked first of all 10 chains in speed of service, filling orders in an average of just 268 seconds. Some of that speed may have come at the cost of order accuracy, however: Taco Bell was second to last in that category, getting things right only 86.7% of the time. 

Related: Live Más: Spicy Secrets Behind Taco Bell's Success

McDonalds Drive Thru View

4. McDonald’s

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 60.6%

The nation’s largest burger chain manages solid scores for drive-thru service, but is dragged down by order accuracy, ranking No. 7 with a score of just over 91%. It’s in the middle of the pack for speed of service, taking an average of 311 seconds, or about 5 minutes, to fulfill orders. 


3. Starbucks

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 72.4%

Starbucks scores well on customer service, but it’s the second-slowest of the surveyed drive-thrus, taking about 409 seconds to fulfill orders, or just under 7 minutes. It also receives middling marks for order accuracy, nailing things 93% of the time, ranking it fifth in that category. 

Related: Things You Didn’t Know About Starbucks

Carl's Jr.

2. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 79.2%

While these sister chains notch a very respectable second-place finish for service, they’re also all-around solid performers, ranking No. 3 for both order accuracy and speed of service. Customers whizzed through these drive-thrus in 286 seconds. 

Chick-fil-A chicken restaurant. Despite ongoing controversy, Chick-fil-A is wildly popular II

1. Chick-fil-A

Customers receiving “very friendly” or “pleasant” service: 85.7%

No surprise here: The famously friendly chicken chain reigns supreme when it comes to customer service in the drive-thru. While the chain was also No. 1 in order accuracy, scoring an impressive 100% in that category, it’s worth noting that it scored dead last in speed of service at 541 seconds, or about 9 minutes. Good things come to those who wait?