Coffee Chains’ Quicker Drive-Thrus Are Luring QSR Customers, Says Bluedot

Half of consumers surveyed believe coffee chains have faster drive-thrus.

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Bluedot's "State of What Feeds Us" report finds that six in 10 consumers consider buying food at a coffee chain if fast-food drive-thrus have long lines. Courtesy of Dylan Carr on Unsplash.

According to Bluedot’s latest “State of What Feeds Us” report, restaurant consumers believe drive-thrus at coffee chains are quicker than at fast-food restaurants, tempting them to get their meals there—with or without a coffee purchase.

The report, which surveyed 1,631 adults on Aug. 1, found that half of consumers believe coffee chain drive-thrus are faster, and the data also signals they’re already buying more than coffee from them. More than half of respondents (53%) say they consider visiting a coffee chain when hungry, often without a coffee purchase.

High-income earners are more likely to turn to coffee chains to curb their appetite, with 68% saying they consider coffee chains for a quick bite, compared to 49% of middle-income earners and 54% of lower-income earners.

“Wait time has always been key to successful drive-thru experiences, an element brands have taken seriously, and this latest report is a strong reminder of that,” says Judy Chan, chief marketing officer of Bluedot, in a press release. “Coffee chains with drive-thrus are very well positioned to pick off QSR customers, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out in the short and long term as more drive-thrus across categories emerge.”

Other highlights include:

  • Of the 53% of consumers who consider coffee chains for food, 41% say they’ll consider it without a coffee purchase.
  • Six in 10 consumers consider buying food at a coffee chain if fast-food drive-thrus have long lines.
  • Two in 10 have already purchased food at a coffee chain due to long QSR drive-thrus.
  • 46% of consumers say afternoon deals and offers draw them to coffee chains after the morning rush.


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