“Quick-serve restaurants are having a tough time keeping the fast in fast food, as menus become more complicated. At San Diego-based Jack in the Box restaurants, for instance, it takes an average of 228.9 seconds – 3.8 minutes – to get burgers out the drive-through window after an order is taken”. This startling information comes from a new study by the trade magazine QSR which rates burger, chicken and taco chains. QSR analysts estimate that speeding up delivery by as little as six seconds can improve sales by 1 percent or more. That’s because about 70 percent of all fast-food transactions occur at the drive-through window, and the busiest two hours at most restaurants are during lunch. To enhance (and enforce) efficiency, “many chains use digital timing systems, software and headsets to keep the packages of onion rings emerging with lock-step predictability”, the report says. “Indeed, some chains can monitor individual stores instantly from their headquarters to make sure the clock isn’t ticking too long on each order”. Who said the command-and-control economy was over? That last charming add-on probably came from Wharton Business School, whose banner ad features prominently on the QSR site.