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Study: Burger King Is Slowest Drive-Through In ‘Fast’ Food

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Burger King is the slowest drive-through a new study finds. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Burger King is the slowest drive-through a new study finds. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Burger King gets the top slot for slowest drive-through in “fast” food.

According to a study commissioned by QSR magazine — shorthand for “quick-service restaurants,” it takes 201.33 seconds — about 3 minutes and 20 seconds — on average to emerge from a Burger King drive-through. While that may not seem like much, it’s a near eternity compared with the wait at Wendy’s, a perennial winner in QSR’s survey, which gets people in and out of its drive-through in 129.75 seconds on average, more than a minute faster.

The King also had the worst accuracy ratings of any of the seven fast-food joints surveyed. BK got its orders correct only 83 percent of the time. Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, got 92.4 percent of its orders right.

Most likely due to more complicated menus, overall drive-thru times are getting much slower.

For the past several years, quick-service restaurants have been sprucing up their menus to better compete with fast, casual establishments like Chipotle, Qdoba and Five Guys.

More elaborately made items like smoothies, chicken Caesar wraps and apple pecan salads are now at places like Wendy’s. Despite its menu enhancements, however, Wendy’s was the only fast-food joint to improve its average service time in 2011. On the other hand, the chain still takes longer than the 116.2 sec. it needed to get people in and out of the drive-through in 2003.

As Denny Lynch, senior vice president of communications at Wendy’s told QSR, “You want a smoothie? O.K., I’ve got to get the ingredients, I’ve got to portion out the ingredients, I’ve got to put it into a blender and smooth it … Because of [menu items like that], you put the stress on the speed of the service at the pick-up window.”

And common courtesy is an issue in contention.

According to QSR, the number of locations that said “please” rose from 53.7 percent to 57.2 percent, but the ones that said “thank you” fell from 86.6 percent to 85.9 percent, and the number of companies ranked “very friendly” or “pleasant” also declined.

The report contained additional bad news for Burger King. Only 27.4 percent of respondents said their experience at BK was “very pleasant,” with just 34.3 percent calling it “pleasant,” ranking the restaurant last and second-to-last in the survey, respectively.

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