+
Back to GroupCOVID-19 FAQsValue My VehicleSaved (0)Call Us NowLocationsContact Us

Can I Take Your Order: The World’s Most Popular Drive-Thrus

Posted on
Can I Take Your Order: The World’s Most Popular Drive-Thrus
  • Drive-thrus have been a fun and popular approach to fast food dining since the first one opened in Missouri way back in 1947. And never more so than now; while sit-in cafes and restaurants may not be an option, we can safely order and collect from the drive-thru windows of our favourite snack and dining joints, and enjoy speedy refreshments in the comfort and covid-safe confinement of our cars.  What has previously been a convenience and a comfort, is now also a lifeline for many fast-food fans.

  • But not all drive-thrus are created equal and our favourite fast-food spots differ, not just country-by-country, but also on a town-by-town basis too. We were intrigued to find out which fast food drive-thrus are most popular in different locations around the world, so we dug into data from Google searches to discover which ones are searched for the most.

  • DRIVE-THRUS IN THE UK

    The UK’s Most Popular Drive-Thrus

    UKs Most Popular Drive-Thrus

  • The original and the best (according to our research), McDonald’s was the first drive-thru to grace UK streets 35 years ago in 1986, in Fallowfield, Manchester.  Perhaps that’s why it’s proven most popular with Brits hoping to grab and go with their favourite fast-food feasts. Popularity then shifts gear to an entirely more caffeinated prospect, with Costa and Starbucks ranking as the second and third most searched-for drive-thru providers in the UK. The priority of quickly grabbing a coffee on the drive to work, or the much needed energy boost on long car journeys means that these café-style drink and food suppliers come in above fast-food classics KFC and Burger King (which take fourth and fifth places respectively).

  • Mc Donalds Drive-Thru

  • Perhaps a surprise for some, UK breakfast and lunch-time favourite Greggs comes in at seventh place, having been beaten by the American donut brand Krispy Kreme. Could it be that Brits favour a sugary treat over a classic pasty when grabbing a bite-to-eat on the go? Or, could it simply be that Greggs have been too slow on the drive-thru uptake? The iconic bakers only opened its first drive-thru in 2017, while Krispy Kreme has been providing a sugar hit to drivers for years prior to that (even causing traffic chaos, thanks to mile-long tailbacks in Edinburgh in 2013).

  • It’s also interesting to see new kid on the block, Tim Hortons, featuring in the top 10. The Canadian fast-food joint is known for its coffee and donuts, but only opened its first UK outlet in 2017.

    Ranking

    Favourite Fast-Food Drive-Thru

    1.        

    McDonald’s

    2.        

    Costa

    3.        

    Starbucks

    4.        

    KFC

    5.        

    Burger King

    6.        

    Krispy Kreme

    7.        

    Greggs

    8.        

    Taco Bell

    9.        

    Subway

    10.    

    Tim Hortons

  • Which UK towns and cities love drive-thrus the most?

    Our research discovered that some towns are clearly much bigger fans of a drive-thru dinner or drink than others. Watford, just North West of London, was far and away the area most likely to search for drive-thrus. And luckily, they won’t go hungry, as there are several fast-food options available in the area, including at Watford Gap service station. Bournemouth also ranked highly as an area searching for drive-thrus, with Stockport coming in third place.

  • Interestingly, out of the top 10 towns and cities most likely to search for drive-thrus, Bournemouth was the only location to search for a fast-food option that wasn’t McDonald’s, Costa and Starbucks – this Dorset town instead prioritised KFC and the Colonel’s secret recipe chicken.

    Ranking

    Town/City

    Favourite 3 Drive-Thrus

    1.        

    Watford

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Costa

    3.       Starbucks

    2.        

    Bournemouth

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Starbucks

    3.       KFC

    3.        

    Stockport

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Starbucks

    3.       Costa

    4.        

    Chester

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Costa

    3.       Starbucks

    5.        

    Solihull

    1.       Costa

    2.       Starbucks

    3.       McDonald’s

    6.        

    Salford

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       McDonald’s

    3.       Costa

    7.        

    Crawley

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Costa

    3.       Starbucks

    8.        

    Bristol

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Costa

    3.       Starbucks

    9.        

    Oxford

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Costa

    3.       Starbucks

    10.    

    Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    1.       McDonald’s

    2.       Costa

    3.       Starbucks

  • Although our research covered all of the UK, it was only English towns that featured in our top 10 list. In fact, the first city to feature outside of England is Glasgow, in 24th place. Meanwhile, the Welsh cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport were some of the least likely to search for drive-thru fast-food spots.

  • Which UK towns and cities are biggest fans of each fast-food brand?

    Our research led us on to ask another big question – we know the UK loves McDonald’s drive-thrus, but which town or city takes the crown as biggest fan of each fast-food brand? Well, from our discovery that Watford drive-thrus are the most popular in search, it’s little surprise that this town was the biggest fan of no less than three of the UK’s top fast-food chains – McDonald’s, Costa and KFC. An honourable mention should also go to Salford, which is in the top three for six different fast-food brands – Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Greggs, Taco Bell, Subway and Tim Hortons.

  • Ranking

    Most Popular Fast-Food Brand in the UK

    Towns & Cities That Love Them Most

    1.        

    McDonald’s

    1.       Watford

    2.       Bournemouth

    3.       Crawley

    2.        

    Costa

    1.       Watford

    2.       Solihull

    3.       Reading

    3.        

    Starbucks

    1.       Salford

    2.       Stockport

    3.       Stevenage

    4.        

    KFC

    1.       Watford

    2.       Bournemouth

    3.       Hemel Hempstead

    5.        

    Burger King

    1.       Watford

    2.       Bournemouth

    3.       Hemel Hempstead

    6.        

    Krispy Kreme

    1.       Stockport

    2.       Salford

    3.       Manchester

    7.        

    Greggs

    1.       Newcastle Upon Tyne

    2.       Gateshead

    3.       Salford

    8.        

    Taco Bell

    1.       Salford

    2.       Doncaster

    3.       Halifax

    9.        

    Subway

    1.       Swindon

    2.       Salford

    3.       Chester

    10.    

    Tim Hortons

    1.       Belfast

    2.       Salford

    3.       Manchester

  • DRIVE-THRUS IN THE USA

    The USA’s Most Popular Drive-Thrus

    Most Popular Drive-Thrus in the USA

  • As the original home of the fast-food restaurant and, of course, the drive-thru, it seemed only right to find out which speedy snack and supper spots topped the list for the USA. And, coffee beats burgers to the top spot, with Starbucks proving the most popular options for American drive-thrus. McDonalds still isn’t far from the top though, coming in at second place on our list. From there, the list shows a varied range of different food types and styles, from the classic sweet treat of Dunkin’ Donuts and the Asian cuisine of Panda Express to the Mexican-inspired Taco Bell and Chipotle. Interestingly, UK faves Burger King and KFC don’t even get a look-in for the US top 10, with fried chicken restaurant Popeyes instead flying the flag for fast food alternatives to the burger meals of McDonald’s.

  • Starbucks Drive Thru Coffee

  • Ranking

    Favourite Fast-Food Drive-Thru

    1.        

    Starbucks

    2.        

    McDonald’s

    3.        

    Dunkin’ Donuts

    4.        

    Panda Express

    5.        

    Subway

    6.        

    Panera

    7.        

    Dairy Queen

    8.        

    Popeyes

    9.        

    Taco Bell

    10.    

    Chipotle

  • Which US states love drive-thrus the most?

    When it comes to the most drive-thru loving states, California came up top with the most searches per person, particularly favouring Starbucks for their fast-food hit. New Jersey came in second (again searching for a convenient hot beverage from Starbucks), followed by Colorado in third (no surprises to see Starbucks in top spot again). Although Starbucks dominates for most US states, it was unable to claim the top spot in its home state Washington, pipped by, you guessed it – McDonalds!

    The states least likely to be searching for a drive-thru meal or snack were Oregon, Indiana and Nevada.

  • Ranking

    State

    Favourite 3 Drive-Thrus

    1.        

    California

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       McDonald’s

    3.       KFC

    2.        

    New Jersey

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       Dunkin’ Donuts

    3.       McDonald’s

    3.        

    Colorado

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       Dairy Queen

    3.       Panda Express

    4.        

    Arizona

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       Panda Express

    3.       Subway

    5.        

    Massachusetts

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       Dunkin’ Donuts

    3.       McDonald’s

    6.        

    Maryland

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       McDonald’s

    3.       Dunkin’ Donuts

    7.        

    Illinois

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       Dunkin’ Donuts

    3.       McDonald’s

    8.        

    Hawaii

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       McDonald’s

    3.       Panda Express

    9.        

    Connecticut

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       Dunkin’ Donuts

    3.       McDonald’s

    10.    

    Minnesota

    1.       Starbucks

    2.       Dairy Queen

    3.       Subway

  • Which US states are the biggest fans of each fast-food brand?

    But which states could claim the crown of being the biggest fan-boy for favourite fast-food drive-thrus? We’ve already seen the popularity of Starbucks across the whole continent, but California, Colorado and Maryland were the states most likely to be driving up for their Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. California also topped the bill for McDonald’s and New Jersey for Dunkin’ Donuts.

  • Ranking

    Most Popular Fast-Food Brand in the USA

    States That Love Them Most

    1.        

    Starbucks

    1.       California

    2.       Colorado

    3.       Maryland

    2.        

    McDonald’s

    1.       California

    2.       Massachusetts

    3.       New York

    3.        

    Dunkin’ Donuts

    1.       New Jersey

    2.       Massachusetts

    3.       Connecticut

    4.        

    Panda Express

    1.       Arizona

    2.       Utah

    3.       Colorado

    5.        

    Subway

    1.       Utah

    2.       Nebraska

    3.       Michigan

    6.        

    Panera

    1.       Illinois

    2.       Nebraska

    3.       Ohio

    7.        

    Dairy Queen

    1.       Colorado

    2.       Minnesota

    3.       Michigan

    8.        

    Popeyes

    1.       Maryland

    2.       New Jersey

    3.       New York

    9.        

    Taco Bell

    1.       California

    2.       Illinois

    3.       Hawaii

    10.    

    Chipotle

    1.       Arizona

    2.       Nebraska

    3.       Ohio

  • CANADA’S MOST POPULAR DRIVE-THRUS

    Perhaps shockingly for the cultural home of the now world-famous Tim Horton’s, Canada only positioned its home-grown fast-food joint in second place, instead prioritising Starbucks above any other provider. Much like its North American neighbour, it’s clear that the caffeine hit beats burgers when it comes to convenient car collections. Canada is also the only country from our research to not position McDonald’s in the top two (although it does sneak in closely in position three). The sweet treats of cake-focused Dairy Queen takes fourth spot, and the fried chicken franchise that didn’t even make USA’s top 10, KFC, comes in fifth.

    1. Starbucks
    2. Tim Hortons
    3. McDonald’s
    4. Dairy Queen
    5. KFC
  • AUSTRALIA’S MOST POPULAR DRIVE-THRUS

    As the home of the drive-thru off license (or ‘bottle shop’ as it’s colloquially called), Australians are clearly a fan of convenience. And burgers are on the menu, with McDonald’s picking up the top spot for most searched-for drive-thru cafes and restaurants. As the king of fried chicken, KFC is the second most popular, with Starbucks providing a coffee hit in third place. Oporto is a freshly grilled chicken and burger joint that’s unique to Australia – it’s clearly a favourite with Aussies as it sits in fourth place, just above international sandwich sensation, Subway. 

    1. McDonald’s
    2. KFC
    3. Starbucks
    4. Oporto
    5. Subway
  • NEW ZEALAND MOST POPULAR DRIVE-THRUS

    Similar to its Australasian neighbour, New Zealand also favours McDonald’s and KFC when it comes to drive-thru fast-food meals. Interestingly, it’s the only country not to feature a single coffee shop in its top five, instead focusing on more meal-based foodie spots, with Burger King, Subway and Wendy’s all proving popular.

    1. McDonalds
    2. KFC
    3. Burger King
    4. Subway
    5. Wendy’s
  • If lockdown restrictions have you cramming down quick cuisine in your car, then you may want to make sure your vehicle is the comfiest and safest dining spot in town. Why not browse our range of new cars, or used cars? These include the latest in electric technology, meaning you’re sure to find the perfect setting for your next roadside rumination.

  • Methodology

    We combined a variety of Google search terms related to drive-thrus from the last 12 months (February 2020-January 2021) to work out the most popular brands in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. To work out the drive-thru capitals of the UK and US, searches were adjusted for population size.

"With dine-in cafes and restaurants still closed, drive-thrus have gone beyond being a convenience and a comfort to become a lifeline for fast food fans and coffee lovers across the country. With that in mind, and to settle an internal debate that has been raging since the latest lockdown started, we were intrigued to find out whether Maccy D’s is still the nation's favourite. We also salute Watford as the new drive-thru capital of the UK – fast food, coffee and cars is clearly a dream combination for them and we look forward to taking a drive down there to check out the best drive-thru hotspots when we’re allowed to again!" Jonathan Lingham, Marketing Director at Pentagon Motor Group
Article by
Jordan Armitage
Jordan Armitage
Digital Marketing Manager at Pentagon Group
5 months ago
This website uses cookies

Some cookies are necessary, while others allow us to enhance your experience, personalise content and ads (across your devices), and provide insights into how the site is being used. Our recommended settings are that these cookies are all active but if you aren't happy with this you can manage your preferences by clicking Customise Cookie Settings.

Necessary Cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality. Our website cannot function properly without these cookies, and they can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences (please note if disabled our website may not work or show correctly on your device).

  • On
  • Off
Personalisation

We use personalisation cookies to understand how you engage with our website across all your devices, this includes recording your browsing habits and activity. This information is used for profiling purposes and to help identify you, so that we can show personalised content.

  • On
  • Off
Marketing

We use third party cookies on our site to serve you with advertisements that we believe are relevant to you and your interests. You may see these advertisements on our site and on other sites that you visit on any of your devices where you've accepted marketing cookies. Please note that if you disable these, you will still see adverts but they won't be specifically tailored to you and your interests.

+
Representative Finance Example
APR Representative 8.9%
Cash Price £8,995
Deposit £181.00
1st Monthly Payment £181.06
58 Monthly Payment £181.06
Final Monthly Payment £182.06
Amount of Credit £8,814.00
Total Amount Payable £11,045.00
Total Charge for Credit £2,049.60
Fixed Interest per Annum 4.65%
Duration 60 Months