Drive-thru users say they have issues

drive thru window order

Despite recent efforts to simplify drive-thru menu boards, 59% of consumers say the rosters of options are difficult to read, especially when cars are lined up to order.

That’s one of the findings of a new study commissioned and released by Frisch’s to call attention to the burger chain’s new drive-thru options. The report also reveals:

  • Only 35% of drive-thru users trust the person on the other side of the pass-through window to get their orders right. The majority—53%—check the bags as a matter of course before pulling away.
  • Young consumers are zealous about avoiding human contact. Thirty-one percent of respondents ages 18 to 24 indicated they use drive-thrus because of the limited interaction with a human being. The percentage for the whole population is just 16%, according to the study. Fourteen percent said they don’t like to chat with a staffer during the experience.
  • In contrast, 59% of the 523 respondents said they appreciated an exchange of pleasantries with drive-thru order takers. But 38% don’t want to be asked about adding something to their orders. An almost matching percentage—34%—said they appreciate the prompt.
  • Drive-thrus are least likely to be used for breakfast. Only 17% of participants said the morning is the most likely time for them to pull in line, compared with the 56% who indicated they were most likely to stay in the car when ordering lunch.
  • Seventy percent of consumers—and 82% of men in particular—would order a burger for breakfast.

Frisch’s, whose signature is a burger, noted that 30% of its total sales currently come through the drive-thru. Despite the indicated interest in burgers for breakfast, the Midwestern chain is adding three breakfast burritos that it describes as “car-friendly.”

Its research showed that 39% of drive-thru customers tend to eat the meals in their cars, and 25% said they feel sloppy when they do.

The report was based on a nationwide survey earlier this month of 523 consumers above age 18.


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