Consumer Trends

Drive-thru windows drive takeout business

Drive-thru windows at quickservice restaurants are essential to the American eating style—and essential to QSR profitability. According to the NPD Group, there were 12.4 billion restaurant visits via drive-thru windows in 2011— a 2% increase from the prior year. And that number is expected to grow, as customers continue to seek portable foods they can eat on the run.

  • At fast food burger restaurants, 57% of business comes from the drive-thru window. Only 27% of customers eat on premises. It is evident that drive-thru windows are vital for these businesses to thrive.
  • At quickservice Mexican restaurants, 40% of business is conducted through the drive-thru window
  • At chicken concepts, 38% of business is done from the drive-thru window

According to Bonnie Riggs of NPD, “drive-thru customers’ expectations are straightforward—take down my order accurately and give me my food fast.”


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