Self-Service – McDonalds Drive Thru Study

By | October 6, 2022

Drive Thru Technology (eg McDonalds Drive Thru)

Each year Intouch Insight along with QSR magazine do their analysis of QSR drive-thrus to see who is getting faster and who is getting slower.

Drive-Thru utilizes a number of technologies including:

  • Humans with tablets taking orders from waiting customers
  • Two way audio systems for ordering
  • Typically multiple large 55 inch outdoor menu displays
  • AI technology for automated order taking and menu generation
  • Identification of customers in some cases with license plate recognition and facial
  • The actual order taking systems inside the store operated by employees


  • For us the interesting point in all this is that suggestive or recommended selling DECREASES transaction time
  • For example McDonalds Drive Thru
    • dropped out of top 5 for 2022 for total time
    • still #2 for Fastest Total by Car
    • Average wait time 119 seconds
    • Average service time 291
    • #1 for Accuracy (that is a big one for us)
  • Inaccuracy Costs Restaurants –see graphic

    Drive Thru Inaccuracy

    Click for full size Drive Thru Inaccuracy


The use of suggestive selling is another sorely underutilized tactic among quick serve restaurants. The study shows that this tactic is being used less than half of the time, and with great inconsistency across brands. And although contrary to popular belief, orders are 24 seconds faster with a suggestive sell, dispelling the myth that suggestive selling adds time. Brands who frequently use suggestive selling, like Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and KFC are also among the top five brands when it comes to total fastest time.

Every year, Intouch Insight produces a drive-thru study, analyzing the top fast food chains across the aforementioned categories. Their results are based on reviews of more than 1,500 drive-thrus belonging to 10 different brands: Arby’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’, Hardee’s, KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s.

In terms of accuracy, meaning your main entree, side, drink, and special requests are perfect, Arby’s and McDonald’s tied for the top spot with both getting orders right 89% of the time. They knocked out Chick-fil-A, which had the highest accuracy in 2020 and 2021, but dipped to a seventh-place ranking with 83% accuracy. Wendy’s had the lowest accuracy score at 79%.

Here is the full study in PDF format

Here is 2018 Report

Resource links

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