What Customers Really Think About Drive Thru

    People tend to have an emotional relationship with the drive thru. Plenty of things can make a drive-thru experience go wrong—feeling rushed with your order, say, or being told to park and wait. Here’s a look at some ideas for how quick-serve operators could improve that drive-thru experience, and whether those ideas align at all with consumer attitudes. (The below figures represent percentage of study respondents.)

    drivethru beliefs agree completely agree neither agree nor disagree disagree disagree completely
    I feel rushed by employees when going through the drive thru 13 26 26 24 10
    I would prefer to order online and use a "pickup only" drive-thru lane 19 30 29 12 10
    I wish there were more mobile ordering options available for drive-thru orders 15 27 35 13 10
    I prefer when menus have less options in the drive thru so I can make my decision more easily 9 23 30 24 14
    I wish there was more signage to help me make my menu decision 13 33 30 16 8
    Ordering through the drive thru is more sanitary than picking up in the store 14 31 42 10 3
    I become upset when I am asked to move to a separate waiting area when I get to the pickup window and my order is not ready 13 24 25 22 16
    I would prefer to place and pay for an order with a restaurant employee walking alongside my car in the drive-thru lane instead of through a speaker or window 10 18 37 20 15
    I would order from fast-casual restaurants more frequently if more of them had drive thrus 20 37 30 9 4
    The food available from restaurants with drive thrus is not healthy enough 9 24 37 20 10



    2020 QSR drive-thru performance study Methodology

    The FoodserviceResults team conducted a comprehensive, nationally representative survey of drive-thru consumers in the U.S. using an online survey sample. Participants in the research were screened for frequency of use as well as numerous demographic characteristics in order to ensure that the respondent base was reflective of the U.S. drive-thru market.

    Leveraging insights from numerous industry experts, the finalized survey was completed among 1,007 drive-thru consumers during fieldwork. To ensure a relevant respondent base was achieved, all participants were screened to include those who had at least one drive-thru occasion in the last 30 days. An extensive cross tabulation of the respondent sample data was conducted in order to identify major trends, demographic/behavioral themes, and other nuances in the data.