Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Service Marketing/ Non-Profit Marketing/ Ethics

Publication Date



This study focuses upon US fast-food drive-thru delivery, assesses its cycle times, identifies its common delays and inefficiencies, and proposes solutions for improvement. The author, having become a live-alone bachelor since 2012 admittedly has routinely been a regular fast-food consumer, and as a researcher has over the past 4 years convenience-tallied this field study of fast-food drive-thru delivery. The average drive-thru wait time for these fast-food establishments was .81 minutes with average processing times of 3.6 minutes for a total average of 4.45 minutes with an average standard deviation of 2.1 minutes. This data suggests statistically (assuming a normal distribution) that: a) 2/3 of drive- thru customers will experience a wait that is 4.45 + 2.1 = 6.55 minutes or less; b) if a 95% confidence level is desired for any/all customers that a 4.45 + (2.1 x 2) = 8.65 minute cycle time would have to be acceptable to most customers; c) if a 99% confidence level is desired that a 4.45 + (2.1 x 3) = 10.75 minute cycle time would have to be acceptable to most customers. While most drive-thru customers are likely satisfied with the average of 4.45 minutes, 1/3 of drive-thru customers are experiencing cycle times of greater than 8.65 minutes. Thus it is the variance in drive-thru service times and the various delays that cause it that seem to have the greatest opportunity for delivery improvement. These variances invariably were caused by: a) Long customer/issues; b) Poor speaker/mic; c) Staffing; d) Incorrect order; e) Food availability; f) Tech/PC issues; g) Poorly planned special; h) Poor menu organization.

About the Authors

Dr. Jon M. Martin is an Assistant Professor of Health Administration for Pfeiffer University teaching strategy, marketing, and policy. He holds a PhD in Organization & Management, and has 25 years of operations management experience as a middle manager and executive/VP in the international and private sectors.

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Digital Commons@Georgia Southern License

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