The drive-thru lane at fast-food restaurants isn’t so quick these days.
The amount of time drivers spend waiting in line is dramatically increasing, according to the 2014 Drive-Thru Performance Study from trade publication QSR Magazine.
In 2013, drivers spent 180.83 seconds on average in line, USA Today reports, but now that average has jumped to 219.97 seconds — a roughly 40-second jump. Though the study increased its sample size in the past year, studying 2,188 trips at 17 fast-food companies instead of last year’s seven chains, those extra 40 seconds make for the longest wait time in the 17 years of its study.
The change is significant for the $200 billion-plus fast food industry, which finds big chains getting more than 60 percent of their business from the drive-thru lane. It’s also significant considering the study found that fewer cars are hitting up the drive-thru line in the first place, signifying a growing preference for accuracy, service and healthier items that are slower to prepare.