Friday, June 1, 2012

Fast Food Stats Are Food For Thought

The business side of the fast food industry fascinates me, especially statistics. According to THIS new Los Angeles Times story, "At quick service hamburger restaurants, the drive-thru is responsible for 57% of all visits, beating out dine-in and carry-out options. The window draws 40% of visitors at Mexican fast-food joints and 38% of chicken-based chains, according to research company NPD Group... Some 70% of fast food sales happen at drive-thru windows, according to the National Restaurant Assn."

What caught my eye first was that, while drive-thrus account for 57% of the store visits at McDonald's (and even less at other chains), they account for 70% of the sales industry-wide.  I wonder why that is.  Is that because larger families no longer dine-in at fast food restaurants, but instead prefer to buy food at a drive thru and then go home to eat?  Or is that perhaps because individual diners may order more at a drive thru, knowing that, in the privacy of their own car, the size of their order is not subject to being scrutinized or judged by other patrons, they way it might be if they dined in?

I also wonder why so many more customers at hamburger restaurants like McDonald's prefer to the drive-thru (57% of visits) than do those eating at Mexican fast food places like Taco Bell (just 40% of visits).

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