They Really FU At The Drive Thru

One of the lines that I always remember in Lethal Weapon 2 is when Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) tells Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) that “They f*** you at the drive through.” It turns out that Pesci was right in his assessment of fast food experiences. According to a new report from QSR Magazine, here’s how often fast food restaurants give customers what they ordered in a drive through.Drive through

My take: First of all, congrats to Chick-fil-A which actually came out on top of QSR’s overall analysis. The fast food restaurant made a mistake in less than 1 out of 25 customer orders. The big burger chains, McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s, got it wrong for about 1 in 10 customers while KFC, Checkers, and Popeyes messed up about 1 in 7 orders.

I can’t imagine running any business where 1 out of 10 of my customers (or more) didn’t get what they ordered. That’s terrible! Any company should, at a minimum, consistently give customers what they pay for. It doesn’t take any customer research to realize that this is an incredibly important (and broken)  moment of truth.

The bottom line: Check what’s in your bag before you drive away.

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 thoughts on “They Really FU At The Drive Thru”

  1. It would be interesting to map these quality metrics against the other 2 “big” service metrics: speed and price. Although I’m not too impressed with 1 in 7 chances of getting the right order, the trade-off between quality and cost/price may be acceptable to certain customers. In such a case, perhaps Popeye’s _is_ making a logical business decision.

  2. Andrew: That’s a fair point; business decisions are based on trade-offs. But I would find it hard to believe that any algorithm would be optimized with 1 out of 7 customers not getting what they ordered and paid for.

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