Hot!Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST?

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Rabkin
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2010/12/13 08:44:51 (permalink)

Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST?

I was inspired to post this by the hellishly long wait I endured at our local Sonic drive through the other day.  And this is pretty well the norm for this particular Sonic (which is probably why I frequent it so, erm, infrequently), and I suspect the reason is that I've never once seen an adult on the premises (I refer to this as the Dairy Queen Phenomenon).  But Sonic's not the worst drive through 'round these parts.  Not by a long shot.
 
No, that decidedly dubious honor goes to none other than Steak 'n Shake.  And not just the one in my town, but, literally, every single Steak 'n Shake I've ever been to.  We're talking waits approaching 30 minutes.  When yours is the only vehicle in the queue.  (And, for the record, the dine in experience is no less hair-pullingly awful.)
 
On a lighter note: The best drive through, 'round these parts, anyway, would have to be either Wendy's or McDonald's.  At either place, the queue could seem to be off-puttingly long, but by and large, you're through in ten minutes or less (most of the time less).
 
So, how about where all of you live?  What's the best and what's the worst? 
#1

58 Replies Related Threads

    plb
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 10:36:40 (permalink)
    Don't know.  I like to stretch my leg as often as possible.  So, I'll get out and go to the counter even for takeout.  What bugs me is when they give priority to drive throughs over us at the counter.
    #2
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 10:57:54 (permalink)
    Ah, the Burger King in Gahanna, Ohio on a weekend seems to have just three people working, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say three people being paid. To be fair, I should point out that I stopped going near the place on weekends  months ago because of the interminable wait on each weekend visit.
    #3
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 11:19:37 (permalink)
    Since Steak 'n Shake cooks to order, it stands to reason that theirs' would be a long wait at the drive-thru.  You waste a lot more gas idling for your order there than you do recranking the engine after you go inside for an order.
    #4
    MellowRoast
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 11:48:34 (permalink)
    Undoubtedly (and consistently), the fastest drive-thru I've ever witnessed is Chick-Fil-A.  At least the location I frequent.  Never any service problems. 
     
    When to comes to SLOW,  my slick scalp is the result of pulling my hair out at SONIC and Church's.
     
    In fact, SONIC #1067 in East Ridge, Tennessee should win the International Slow-As-Molasses Speed of Service Medal.  I nominate them every year!  Slowest drive-thru in the world. 
    #5
    SassyGritsAL
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 12:46:04 (permalink)
    I have learned to always check my order before I pull out from a drive-thru (regardless of how many cars are behind me). Nothing worse then getting home and your order is not right.
     
    #6
    joerogo
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 13:07:41 (permalink)
    What's a fast food drive-thru?
    #7
    bartl
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 13:27:52 (permalink)
    I rarely, if ever, use fast food drive-thru's. A rule of thumb that I have followed (based on careful observation) is that if there are two or more cars on line, it's just as fast or faster to park, walk in, and take out than it is to go through the drive-thru, and you can see the specials.
     
    Bart
    #8
    MellowRoast
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/13 14:54:01 (permalink)
    SassyGritsAL:  You have learned well from Joe Pesci, Grasshopper.
    #9
    mar52
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/14 10:15:07 (permalink)
    Once in awhile I like Jadk in the Box tacos.
     
    For the most part all of those in West Los Angeles are fairly fast.
     
    I won't go back to the Overland/Venice Bl location.  You order, you pay and then they as you to pull up front so they can serve the line behind you.
     
    It's great for those in the rear, but they seem to forget the car that has moved out of the way to WAIT.
     
    It happened twice and won't happen again.
    #10
    jman
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/14 10:52:00 (permalink)
    Service at our local Sonic is very good.  The waits are minimal, but more importantly, they act like they are happy to have you as a customer.
    #11
    David_NYC
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/14 11:25:10 (permalink)
    mar52
    I won't go back to the Overland/Venice Bl location.  You order, you pay and then they as you to pull up front so they can serve the line behind you.

    I couldn't quite picture that scenario. So, I pulled up the location on Google maps street views. There are two great views, one for Venice and one for Overland.
     
    Write to Jack in the Box and give them this suggestion: Make the order taker at the drive-in window wear a dog shock collar. If they ask a customer to pull up to the front (where are you going to park, in the auto parts store parking area?), they have to give the remote control transmitter to the customer. If the drive through staff forgets about you, "Press The Button".
    #12
    mar52
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/14 11:37:46 (permalink)
    That is great that you could Google the location.  Yes, they have you pull up in front of that auto parts store.  I'm always there after hours so I wonder where they'd have you wait during the day.
     
    Love your suggestion.
    #13
    ces1948
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/14 22:04:31 (permalink)
    Just a couple of observations. If you are 5 cars back in a Mcdonalds drive-thru you are expected by their powers that be to driving away with your stuff in just about 4 minutes. Of course things can vary depending on what the people ahead of you are ordering. Their newer fancy coffee drinks have really slowed things down. Speaking of Sonic I went through there's a couple of weekends ago at a little over 3 minutes and another time at just under 2 minutes.  Both times at Sonic there was no one ahead of me. I get paid to time these things so have to record accurate timings.
     
    #14
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/14 22:11:06 (permalink)
    Culver's also cooks to order. But I know that going in.
     
    SONIC is BY FAR the worst. ESPECIALLY during Happy Hour. Half price drinks between 2pm-4pm. Ok. So why does it take them 10 minutes to prepare 4 drinks? Why aren't they ready before I pull up to the window? We only get half an hour for lunch. You can expect to wait AT LEAST 10 minutes at Sonic.
     
    McDonalds is also pretty bad. Again, we get half an hour for lunch. So if they mess up on your order, there's really no way to turn around & go back.
     
    No matter when you roll up, whether it's breakfast, lunch or dinner, they have this horrible recording that comes on. It asks if it can take your order, so you say, "Yeah, can I get an Egg McMuffin with no ham and a milk?"
     
    WITHOUT FAIL, a live person comes on & says, "MAY I TAKE YOUR ORDER?" or "You want a Sausage Biscuit with Cheese and a Coke?"
     
    So one time when I went to pay, I handed the girl a box of Q-Tips from the travel section at Walgreens. She asked me what they were for & I told her "SO YOU CAN CLEAN THE $#!+ OUT OF YOUR EARS!!!!"
     
    ^^not really. But I really really REALLY want to.

    #15
    ces1948
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/14 22:26:17 (permalink)
    Not to get off the subject but I think I saw my first automated fountain drink dispenser through the Mcdonalds drive-thru window. I saw it drop the correct size cup size down, fill it with ice, spin it around under the correct favor drink, fill it, spin it around further and slap a lid on it. Amazing
    #16
    Heartbreaksoup
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/15 11:04:32 (permalink)
    Does anybody remember that "song" from the old Dr. Demento show about the guy trying to order a cheeseburger, onion rings and a large orange drink from the drive-through and only getting a Peanuts-like "WAHHH WAAHH WAHHH" back?  Who did that?
    #17
    6star
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/15 12:04:46 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup

    Does anybody remember that "song" from the old Dr. Demento show about the guy trying to order a cheeseburger, onion rings and a large orange drink from the drive-through and only getting a Peanuts-like "WAHHH WAAHH WAHHH" back?  Who did that?

    Could this be what you are talking about?  (Scroll down to #9):
    http://dmdb.org/cgi-bin/plinfo.pl?drd77l.1120.html
    #18
    stricken_detective
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/15 21:29:31 (permalink)
    Heartbreaksoup

    Does anybody remember that "song" from the old Dr. Demento show about the guy trying to order a cheeseburger, onion rings and a large orange drink from the drive-through and only getting a Peanuts-like "WAHHH WAAHH WAHHH" back?  Who did that?

    This was on Beavis & Butthead as well.
     
    You can also enjoy this monologue from my mother every time she explains why she hates drive thru's. To her, a meal is an event, and you must get out of the car to enjoy it. Me? I'd go to a drive thru gyno if I could. " />
     
    I work with a woman who hates going through the drive through. She leans halfway out of her truck & speaks loudly, slowly & clearly. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my entire life. "I   WOULD   LIKE   TO  GET    A  CHICKEN   SANDWICH   WITH   NOOOOOO    M A Y O N N A I S E!!!!!"

    #19
    6star
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/15 22:51:59 (permalink)
    "I work with a woman who hates going through the drive through. She leans halfway out of her truck & speaks loudly, slowly & clearly. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my entire life. "I   WOULD   LIKE   TO  GET    A  CHICKEN   SANDWICH   WITH   NOOOOOO    M A Y O N N A I S E!!!!!"
     
    Don't be laughing too hard.  Around here, speaking loudly, slowly & clearly is the only way you are guaranteed you will get food that is even close to what you have ordered!  As a result, I don't do drive-throughs ever.
    #20
    MellowRoast
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 06:39:17 (permalink)
    Even with a trained speaking voice, I've found drive-thru intercoms problematic -- particularly when speaking loudly, slowly, and clearly.  If there's even a hint of trouble, I simply stop talking and proceed to the window and order there.  Most often, the problem is poor engineering & electronics; other times, employees who are as unintelligible as John Moschitta. 
    #21
    charlottesailor
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 07:23:20 (permalink)
    Any place that cooks the food when you order it has the worst drive thru lines.  The worst is In and Out's (not the food, that's always good) drive thru lines.  I once was in line over 20 minutes to get an order of fries.  Unless there is no line or only one or two cars in any drive thru I always find it much quicker to park the car and go inside.
    #22
    ann peeples
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 08:37:33 (permalink)
    I rarely go to the drive thru's at fast food places.I honestly think it is just as fast, in most cases, to get out of the car and go in to order. I usually dont have a time constraint, however, like some people. But, in keeping with the question, I found Sonic to be the longest wait.And to me, the food was NOT worth that kind of wait.
    post edited by annpeeples - 2010/12/16 08:40:03
    #23
    mar52
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 10:15:56 (permalink)
    What bugs me the most when taking my mother through the drive through at McDonald's for her four double cheeseburgers is that every single time we go, she insists that I tell them that the order is to go and that she doesn't want mayonnaise.
    #24
    PapaJoe8
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 11:00:18 (permalink)
    There is a REAL funny deal on the net about a make beleive sign at the SnS drive through. It would be realy neat if someone smarter than me could post the link here. It comes right up w/ a google for;
     
    steak n shake drive through sign
     
    It's a hoot! And there is much that folks here need to know about how to behave at any drive through.
     
    I myself have never had a prob at a drive through. I do however make sure the person handing me my order tells me what I am getting. If they can't do that I park and go inside. And I then get to meet the manager.
    Joe
    #25
    Tony Bad
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 11:06:39 (permalink)
    annpeeples

    I rarely go to the drive thru's at fast food places.I honestly think it is just as fast, in most cases, to get out of the car and go in to order. I usually dont have a time constraint, however, like some people. But, in keeping with the question, I found Sonic to be the longest wait.And to me, the food was NOT worth that kind of wait.

     
    I agree! Typically at lunch tiime one of the local places I stop at has a drive up line wrapping all around the building while there may only be one or twp people inside. I usually watch the car I would have been behind and rarely can I recall when the drive thru beat me.
    #26
    fishtaco
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 15:34:06 (permalink)
    I hate the drive thru, use it very seldom.
    #27
    6star
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 15:35:20 (permalink)
    PapaJoe8

    There is a REAL funny deal on the net about a make beleive sign at the SnS drive through. It would be realy neat if someone smarter than me could post the link here. It comes right up w/ a google for;

    steak n shake drive through sign

    It's a hoot! And there is much that folks here need to know about how to behave at any drive through.

    Joe


    http://mzrc.xanga.com/662261318/sign-to-be-posted-outside-on-the-steaknshake-drive-thru-menu/
    #28
    felix4067
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 16:26:43 (permalink)
    I haven't noticed one chain over another being better or worse, but definitely it varies by location!  Some employees are good, others are not so good.  Although from this discussion I guess y'all are only talking about speed rather than accuracy, and speed completely depends on whether or not they've got a bunch of food sitting under a heat lamp or have to make it after you order.
    #29
    Wabbit
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    Re:Which fast food chain has the WORST drive through service? The BEST? 2010/12/16 19:41:43 (permalink)
    Do to my job,  I often have to pick up lunch for my co-workers.. I work with the public and they are in a hurry also.. There are day's my company will "buy our lunch" . as we can't leave to take one. I will walk in to make the order as it is a large order. I do look at the Drive - Thru line.. and count the cars.. I think it has to do with the staff. The line at Cook -Out here is really quite fast, The Sonic .. not to great. If I am by myself.. more than Two cars at Wendy's .. I am going inside. The "Shock Collar" love it!!
    #30
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