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By Ethan Wolff-Mann
October 7, 2015
Sprecher, Aaron M. Bloomberg/Getty Images

If you drove up to the drive-thru lane in the past year, you may have noticed that it took you a little longer to get “thru.” QSR Magazine‘s annual fast food study showed a “significant slowdown” in comparison with last year’s data.

Recording data from 1,532 drive-thru windows at 29 chains — including Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Del Taco and others — the report showed that it now takes 222 seconds on average to get food, about 19 seconds slower than last year. That’s a “significant slow-down,” according to the magazine.

Read More: McDonald’s Wants to Win You Back

Part of the reason is due to a renewed focus on getting orders right. “Once they leave and it’s not right, it’s a lot more difficult to recover those guests than someone who’s dining in,” Italian fast food chain Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard told QSR. According to the data, accuracy on burger orders has risen 4.1%, though total accuracy for all kinds of food in the study (including burgers, ethnic and sandwiches) only went up 2% for a total of 88.6% accuracy overall.

If you’re looking to hit the drive-thru at the most opportune time, it’s oddly not when you think it would be—at the least-popular times like late-night or late afternoon. Instead, it’s actually breakfast (183 seconds on average), which is also it the busiest time of day. However, the chains are ready and staff accordingly.

Read Next: 5 Things to Know About McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

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Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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