Why Is McDonald’s Drive-Thru So Slow? (7 Reasons Why)

When going through a drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant, people usually want their food delivered, well, fast. But have you gone through McDonald’s drive-thru lately and wondered why McDonald’s drive-thru is so slow?

It’s not your imagination, and it’s slower now than ever before, so why is that? I’ve done some research about it, and I’m going to tell you all about why the McDonald’s drive-thru is so slow, so keep reading!

Why Is McDonald’s Drive-Thru So Slow?

1. Double Drive-Thrus

McDonald’s has started a double-drive thru at many locations, which is confusing a lot of people.

Furthermore, people aren’t sure which person should be proceeding through the line or who should be going first.

Moreover, the staff isn’t trained very well in handling double drive-thrus, so it’s not easy for people to know when to go or where to go when the staff can’t even tell the customers.

2. More Fast-Food Ordering

More people are ordering fast food these days, especially with the McDonald’s Mobile Order & Pay app, where you can choose to order in the app and pick up the food.

With that, mobile ordering is becoming more commonplace as people find it more convenient to order their food and bring it home instead of dining inside restaurants.

3. Delivery Services Are Becoming Popular

3. Delivery Services Are Becoming Popular McDonald's

On top of that, delivery services like Uber Eats and DoorDash mean drivers are going through the drive-thru to pick up orders for customers.

Since you have people going through the drive-thru to order their food and you have people picking up orders for delivery services, it’s getting more congested and overrun.

4. McDonald’s Has Expanded the Menu

McDonald’s has recently expanded its menu, making drive-thru times longer because people are overwhelmed with the number of choices.

Furthermore, the more items on the menu, the more people will be indecisive because sometimes, having a lot of options is just as bad as having too few options.

5. Lack Of Employees

In recent years, many fast-food restaurants have had difficulty finding workers and are working with minimal staff.

That said, when McDonald’s can’t find workers to fill all of its needs, it will impact the quality of service and wait times in the drive-thru.

6. Orders Are First-Come-First-Served

If there are people inside of McDonald’s ordering food and then cars show up in the drive-thru, the people already inside of McDonald’s will get their orders done first.

Furthermore, most restaurants operate on a first-come-first-served basis, so customers in the drive-thru will need to wait if customers show up inside the establishment before them.

7. Food Is More Likely To Be Customized & Modified

McDonald’s faces a major issue in that more customers are customizing and modifying their orders, which means the food has to be cooked separately and on the spot.

Additionally, when someone orders no cheese or no onions, that burger has to be cooked right then and there instead of being already cooked and on the warming rack.

A lot of McDonald’s orders are made fresh, but when modifications happen, it slows everything down.

Furthermore, when someone orders fries with no salt, a special batch has to be made, which takes a few minutes to cook.

How Long Should a McDonald’s Drive-Thru Take?

A McDonald’s drive-thru should take about three minutes, but if you’ve been through the line lately, it seems to be at least double the wait.

Furthermore, a study by SeeLevelHX showed that drive-thru times have increased by an average of 26 seconds within the past year.

Also, McDonald’s had 90% of its orders come through the drive-thru in early 2020, and people have not slowed down on drive-thru pick-up since then.

To learn more about McDonald’s, you can also see our related posts if you tip McDonald’s curbside & delivery, if McDonald’s delivers, and overnight parking at McDonald’s.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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