Today, many of you, as well as consumers, are utilizing a drive-thru more often now during the pandemic. It appears to some of us as the safest way to get our fast food. Restaurants with a drive-thru certainly have a strategic advantage in an era of social distancing with some restaurant chains offering drive-thru options only.

In a recent study of drive-thru wait times, the Chic-fil-A chain, remained the slowest among major fast-food brands. Although most wait times have grown during the pandemic, Chic-fil-A, according to the study, recorded the slowest. But Chick-fil-A customers aren’t buying it or simple just don’t care. They continue to give the chain’s drive-thru “speed of service” the best ratings of any of the brands tested. Why is that?

Chick-fil-A, is one of the largest U.S. restaurant chains by revenue and had some of the highest per-restaurant sales in its segment last year. Although, I have no disclosed numbers on how its business has fared in recent months, just visually and personally experiencing their long drive-thru lines before and during the pandemic, tells me that they are still very successful. One likely reason for Chick-fil-A’s longer wait times is its restaurants serve far more customers, with testers doing the research, counting nearly three times as many other vehicles in the chain’s lines as the industry average.

The shortest average waits were at KFC, with McDonald’s, Taco Bell and KFC each had shorter average wait times from a year ago. So how does Chic-fil-A have the best “speed of service” ratings from customers? I believe there are two major reasons. Courtesy and the perception of sense of urgency.

When I visit a Chick-fil-A, I always seem to praise their management operators and workers for their dedication to the customer experience and resiliency during what has been a challenging year for all. Their people seem to worked tirelessly to share a smile through a mask and deliver a seamless, contactless customer experience, through their drive-thru even during this pandemic. That is because Chic-fil-A, like Disney gets it. Just by demonstrating that you care and are trying your hardest to be as quick as you can, customers will appreciate your efforts and not mind the wait.

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If you have ever been to a Disney Park, you know you will be experiencing long wait times to get on their rides. Disney operators and staff know that and do their best to distract you by using entertaining videos, Disney characters and other strategies, while you are standing on line, along with their courteous and friendly staff demonstrating empathy and sense of urgency. Next thing you know, it is your turn to enter the ride. Although waiting on lines are not the most enjoyable thing to do, Disney generally makes it a tolerable and pleasant experience.

Chic-fil-A is the same. There is an abundance of staff present, all strategically placed with their assignments, friendly and smiling through their masks with a sense of urgency. I have even witness their Cow character rooming through the lines acknowledging customers in their cars making it fun. Even when I experienced an error in my order, the friendly staff member quickly apologized and responded by running, not walking, back into the store and to my car to correct it. Sense of urgency, courtesy and demonstrating that you care. How hard was that?  Customers realize that their experience doesn’t have to be perfect, especially now during the challenges of the pandemic. Customers will tolerate and forgive these miscues as long as your staff remains pleasant, friendly and responsive with a sense of urgency to demonstrate that you care.

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Do your employees or team demonstrate, sense of urgency, courtesy and caring over efficiency? If so, your customers will give you the same positive ratings, tell others and return back to your business again. Now that would be Magical! Want help with training your employees to respond that way and increase business? Contact me today for a FREE Strategy Call with the coach at