Nearly half of Americans would avoid going to a store that didn’t have a drive-thru (47%), according to new research.
A survey of 2,000 U.S. adults found that twice as many people prefer the drive-thru to going in-store (28% vs. 14%).
And a third of those who prefer drive-thrus said they will “always” choose that option when it’s available (32%).
Results showed that people are using the drive-thru for a multitude of reasons, most commonly for coffee (63%) or fast food (60%), at least three times a week.
Some are even visiting the drive-thru to get their pharmaceutical (13%) and bank needs at least once a week (20%).
Unsurprisingly, people are most likely to show up at the drive-thru around mid-morning — between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. (35%), with 12:55 p.m. being the average time respondents recall sitting at the window.
Interestingly, more than a quarter of Americans think coffee drive-thrus should be open past midnight into the early morning hours (27%) and a similar percentage said the same about fast food restaurants (26%).
Conducted by OnePoll for Dutch Bros, the survey also looked at the personality differences between those who prefer drive-thrus versus going in-store and found that 77% of people who prefer drive-thrus consider themselves to be patient.
Surprisingly, these respondents are less likely to feel anxious when talking to store employees than those who prefer to go in-store (6% vs. 28%).
In fact, they’re even more likely to feel confident about talking to employees in-store (31% vs. 24%).
Those who prefer to go in-store are more likely to be introverted than extroverted (63% vs. 34%), while drive-thru-goers’ personalities are the opposite (44% introverted vs. 53% extroverted).
What is it about the drive-thru that appeals to so many Americans? Three in five can’t deny it tends to be the faster option (61%).
Those who prefer drive-thrus also appreciate the comfort of staying in their car (61%) and avoiding long lines (52%).
But going in-store has its perks, too, like avoiding long lines of cars (72%), getting to see what you want in person (64%) and stretching your legs and walking around (62%).
Drive-thrus just can’t be beaten, though, as two-thirds of respondents said they get better service than when going in-store (69%).
Results also showed that looks do matter here, as a majority of those surveyed admit that they’d judge the quality of a store by their drive-thru (68%). Similarly, 44% said they’ve actively skipped out on a boring-looking drive-thru.
For a more exciting experience, Americans said they’d appreciate colorful artwork or artistic decorations (56%) or the ability to play interactive games or activities from inside the car (56%).
Fifty-three percent also said music would make the experience more fun, along with a unique way to request or receive an order (46%).
Produced in association with SWNS Research
(Additional reporting provided by Talker Research)