Apr 8, 2019

Fast food drive-throughs are struggling to keep up with long lines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's not just you: The lines at fast food drive-throughs have gotten much slower.

The big picture: Customers want fresher food with more customization, and restaurants are struggling to keep up. The average wait time at chain drive-throughs is now 3 minutes and 54 seconds, up from 3 minutes and 10 seconds in 2003, per industry trade pub QSR.

  • “We’ve almost quit doing fast food because they are not fast food any more,” stay-at-home mom Michelle Hancock told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Recruiter Ramonda Coleman on how she handles a long line: “I go to the next shortest line place.”

By the numbers: Here's the average wait time for a fast food drive-through in 2018, compiled by QSR...

  1. Burger King 3:13
  2. Dunkin' Donuts 3:20
  3. KFC 3:38
  4. Wendy's 3:48
  5. Taco Bell 3:57
  6. Arby's 3:58
  7. Carl's Jr. 4:13
  8. Hardee's 4:16
  9. Chick-fil-A 4:21
  10. McDonald's 4:33

Flashback: Wendy's average wait time in 2003 was less than 2 minutes.

What's next: The chains are hustling to get ahead of this trend.

  • McDonald's paid $300 million for sales assistant software Dynamic Yield to better personalize its menus.
  • The CaliBurger chain is installing a robotic fry cook: "Flippy ... which will be installed in up to 10 of CaliBurger's 50 locations, can turn patties on a grill and clean it."
  • And Yum Brands bought a 3% stake in GrubHub in 2018.

The bottom line: The days of simple orders, kept warm under heat lamps, feel long past. But the question of whether customers will adjust their patience in response seems less certain.

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Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
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