How Chick-Fil-A May Outdo Its Own Industry-Leading Drive-Thru Times

All fast food joints are technically fast. For the most part, the service is fairly quick, and you can count on getting your meal a lot sooner than you would if you were to sit down at a restaurant or cook up something for yourself at home. Chick-fil-A's speed, however, hasn't always been one of its strong suits.

In 2020, Nation's Restaurant News reported that Chick-fil-A's drive-thru wait times had come in last yet again, the third consecutive year since 2018. The industry average was 3.2 cars waiting at a time, while Chick-fil-A's was more than double at 8.6. But even though the lines of cars often extend past the parking lot, customers are still willing to wait due to Chick-fil-A's exceptional customer service and standout food. It's actually a strategy that's been working for quite some, Nation's Restaurant News explained. Chick-fil-A delivers a high quality experience every time as a trade off for a few extra minutes in line — until now, that is.

Chick-fil-A is reimagining its drive-thru

There's no denying that Chick-fil-A has a loyal customer base, but people still grow impatient waiting for their chicken. In 2021, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy told the Atlanta Business Chonicle that, despite having the best-ranked customer satisfaction and order accuracy in the business, 30% of customers still drive off if they find the drive-thru line to be too long. Wanting to hold onto that 30% of customers, Chick-fil-A is now introducing an additional drive-thru lane.

As announced in a press release published on the Chick-fil-A website, the new drive-thru lane is designated for customers who order express pickup through the app. To use the express lane, customers simply select their preferred restaurant on the app, tap the Drive-Thru Express option (if available at the selected restaurant), and place their order as they normally would. Upon arriving at Chick-fil-A, customers can then go straight to the express lane, scan the QR code provided in the app, and pull up to the window to receive their food. Currently, Chick-fil-A's new drive-thru setup is still in the testing stages and is only available at select locations, but it's bound to be a game changer once it's fully rolled out.