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Chick-fil-A Has the Country's 'Slowest Drive-Thru,' But It's Still Bringing in Major Profits Despite ranking at the bottom for "speed of service," the fast-food chain is actually winning the drive-thru game.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Jeff Greenberg | Getty Images
Chick-fil-A drive thru line in Brooksville, Florida.

Chick-fil-A is bringing in the bucks — and slowing down traffic.

The chicken chain brought in $18.8 billion in U.S. sales last year, marking consistent upward growth since 2019, according to the brand's Franchise Disclosure Document released earlier this week. But Chick-fil-A also ranked last for speed of service, according to The 2022 QSR Drive-Thru Report, with the average transaction taking 325.47 seconds (for reference, Taco Bell ranked number one at 221.99 seconds).

But this data might be a little deceiving when looking at the number of cars serviced at the drive-thru. Chick-fil-A had the most cars, 5.45 on average, based on data examining how many vehicles were in front of survey respondents before they reached the speaker. McDonald's came in second with 3.13. When scaling speed of service with the average number of cars in line, Chick-fil-A actually comes in first with an average of 107.41 seconds, according to the report.

The chain also came in at No. 2 for "speed of service satisfaction," which measures customer satisfaction versus wait time, with a rating of 93% — passed only by Arby's at 96%.

Related: 'We've Been An Elite Restaurant': Chick-fil-A Manager Started Offering a Three-Day Workweek. It Now Has 100 Percent Management Retention.

Still, Chick-fil-A's popularity, particularly its drive-thrus, has caused some local communities to petition for restrictions.

Earlier this year, the Charlotte City Council unanimously approved the motion to tear down a Chick-fil-A location and rebuild it as a two-lane drive-thru-only location in response to a petition by customers, citing long wait times and disruption to local traffic.

In Florida, a location eliminated its drive-thru operation following a series of vehicle-related incidents in 2021. The following year, a San Diego storefront was almost declared a public nuisance due to traffic jams.

Despite the drive-thru logistical issues, it's still Gen Z's favorite chain, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

RELATED: NYC's 65,000 Food Delivery Workers Can Now 'Rest, Get Warm and Recharge' at This Fast-Food Chain's Exclusive 'Brake' Room

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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