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Brian1946's avatar

How much time, gas, or electricity do you spend in a car line waiting for "fast" food?

Asked by Brian1946 (29579points) 1 month ago

The last time I went shopping, I ordered food from a vegan Thai place that’s on my way home.

On my way there, I drove by an In-N-Out Burger that had about 100 cars with occupants waiting to place their orders.

Admittedly, I live in an area that probably has the highest concentration of vehicular traffic in the US, so I’m sure our favorite fast-food fan living in KS has much shorter wait times. ;)

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16 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

10 minutes a year. I always go inside for In’n’Out, it is much quicker. With Starbucks, I use the mobile app and beat the line up for the drive thru.

I only drive thru at Amy’s, and then only to get a coffee shake on the way home from a hike.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I rarely eat fast food. The only fast food restaurant I ever go to is Taco Bell, and I haven’t been to one in more than a year. I drive by many of the restaurants and marvel at the lines for the drive through.

I enjoy eating out but usually choose restaurants where I can sit and be waited on. When I spend money on a restaurant, I want service. Of course, I’m a single, adult male without a family to cook for. I understand that many families need food fast when both parents work and may be very tired.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Sort of depends on time of day.

Around here, Chick-fil-a is by far the busiest fast food place, often with 18–20 cars around lunch. One of them near me is right near a freeway exit, and the backup of cars sometimes blocks that.

There’s a Taco Hell next door that never has a line. There’s a reason for that.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Not much. We’ll eat chik-fil-a once a month or so and they have the wait down to a science. Yeah, I know their politics are whack but I don’t care. I just want a goddamn decent chicken sandwich and fries that are somewhat fresh.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Taco Bell 3 or 4 times a year is the extent of my fast-food consumption.

I don’t do drive-through. It’s always seemed wrong to me, probably because from a young age I was taught idling a car is a waste. Also I feel it’s anti-social – I’d rather go inside and face people.

If more people were like me the economy would collapse.

JLeslie's avatar

I just drove through McDonald’s tonight. I ordered on my phone app while sitting in the McD’s parking lot, but I chose to pick it up in the drive-thru, the line was 3 cars deep. I think the most I would wait is 6 cars. Anything longer than that would be a huge deterrent for me.

Previous to covid I almost never drive-thru when I ate fast food, I always went inside the restaurant. I only ate fast food maybe 6 times a year unless I was travelling much more than usual.

Brian1946's avatar

Perhaps I should back off from my virtue signalling, and confess that although I’ve never been in a drive-through line for any speed of food, I do occasionally go to a drive-through car wash. :p

Brian1946's avatar

rant/ I think some of the dorks in that centi-line at INOB, are the ones on NextDoor blaming Biden for our $6/gal gas prices, and implying they’d vote for Hitler he eliminated our gas tax. /rant.

jca2's avatar

If I’m out shopping I often stop at McD’s for a large Diet Coke, which is $1, and the best fast food deal out there, in my opinion. I go to an area which used to be farms and is now becoming more developed with chain stores and restaurants, but it’s not busy compared to other areas. The McD’s line may have three or four cars on the split line, which is busy for them.

Other than that, I rarely will go to Taco Bell or once in a rare while to the drive thru at Panera.

I’m not big on most fast food, I hate Chick Fil A, hate Burger King, rarely go to Wendy’s.

Brian1946's avatar


I don’t know how close you are to NYC, but it’s my impression that there are very few places there that could accommodate a drive thru.

I’ve never lived there, so how accurate do you think my impression is?

jca2's avatar

@Brian1946: I’m about an hour north of NYC, and I do most of my shopping in CT.

In CT, there’s shopping about ten minutes from my house, but I’m always going ten minutes farther than that to go to the more rural area because it’s more laid back, less crowded, less hectic.

You’re right – in NYC, there are no drive thrus at all.

Brian1946's avatar


“You’re right – in NYC, there are no drive thrus at all.”

Wow- that’s awesome!
That was my conjecture because I’ve heard that unlike LA, a car is actually a liability and a burden there.
My guess is that if one goes east on the LIE, they’ll eventually find a drive-thru.

jca2's avatar

@Brian1946: Yeah, Long Island, Staten Island have them. A car is definitely a liability in NYC – people pay big, big bucks on a monthly basis just to have a spot in a parking garage. Some people will park the car in NJ or Westchester (suburb) and if they want to take the car out on the weekend, they take a train or other public transportation to get the car so they can take it out. The alternative is going out early in the morning or driving around for hours looking for a parking spot on the street, and dealing with alternate side of the street parking.

JLeslie's avatar

@Brian1946 In NYC There are a ton of restaurants that deliver. It was like that even before covid. NYC has more restaurants per capita than any other US city. There also were quite a few places where you could buy buffet style food by weight, like what you see in Whole Foods, but can be a much smaller selection in a convenience store or small restaurant. NYC has Whole Foods too. Also, there is quick serve where you go up to a counter and they serve you food like cafeteria style, already made, and you can take it to go. It’s good, it is not typical cafeteria food. Plus, things like pizza by the slice. There are a ton of options, but everyone is on foot. Having a car can be a disadvantage; having to find parking.

Forever_Free's avatar

Zero minutes.
I have observed long lines at fast food places however flare up in the past 2 years. I am shocked but not shocked at this. People don’t seem to cook for themselves. The attractiveness of the low dollar items is also seemingly a place for people with limited income to go to and get food. I just think it is sad that food and some peoples ability to buy food has evolved to this.
It is not a healthy option.
I have no idea how it relates to other parts of the country. I have seen it in my travels everywhere I have gone over the past year.

ragingloli's avatar

I do not have a car, so zero. I have not even had fast food in months.
The last one I had was a Döner, when I went into town for my booster shot.

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