McDonald's Takes It Slow

Fast-food chain slips in drive-through service

By Matt Bartosik
|  Friday, Oct 2, 2009  |  Updated 11:52 AM CDT
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A new study reveals you may have to wait longer for that Big Mac.

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It's taking longer to Super-Size those fries. According to an annual survey, McDonald's has been slacking on its drive-through service.

The Oak Brook-based fast food chain isn't as fast as it used to be. It slipped from second place in 2008 to seventh place in 2009 in QSR Magazine's annual rankings of drive-through performance.

The drop is mostly due to the Golden Arches' decrease in speed. Total service took an average of 174 seconds this year, up from 159 seconds last year.

Considering it takes some people 10 minutes just to figure out what they want (and it's been the same menu for years!), we're surprised anyone even noticed those 15 extra seconds.

The speediest fast food came from Wendy's with an average service time of 134 seconds.

But McDonalds' slower service may be the price of its own success, said Blair Chancey, QSR's editor.

McD's gets more business in its drive-up window than most other fast-food chains. The more cars in the drive-through lane, the tougher it is to move fast, Chancey said, reports the Chicago Tribune, and traffic was heavier in 2009 at McDonald's than last year.

The annual review measures four main points: speed of service, order accuracy, menu board appearance, and speaker clarity.

Of the country's top 20 fast-food chains, Texas-based Whataburger reportedly has the best menu boards, while Chick-fil-A took top honors in both order accuracy and speaker clarity.

Finally, for the sixth time in 7 years, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A also came in first for overall performance.

Of course, one could just avoid the drive-through delay altogether by walking inside and burning off a few Big Mac calories.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, has a weakness for French fries.

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