The UK Drive Through Index - Select Car Leasing
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The UK Drive Through Index

The UK Drive-Through Index 

Which UK cities have the best and worst drive-throughs?

Stopping by a drive-through on your travels can be a quick and convenient way to enjoy a tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or even just a hot drink - but it can all be easily ruined by having a bad experience.

That’s why at Select Car Leasing, we've crunched the numbers to uncover the best and worst drive-throughs to visit across the UK, so you’ll never have to endure a disappointing meal pick-up again!

How did we come up with our 'Drive Through Index'? To determine it, we took a seedlist of the drive-throughs in the UK’s most populated cities, looking at:

  • Google ratings
  • Distance from the drive through to the city centre
  • Google reviews through conduction of semantic analysis

To help us inform our semantic analysis, we based experiences on the quality of service and wait times.

Good reviews - we looked out for terms such as 'good service' and 'quick'.

Bad reviews - we looked out for terms such as 'long queues' and 'slow’. 

Which UK city has the most drive-throughs? 

When it came to the cities with the highest number of drive-throughs, London took first place with a staggering 64 of them overall. 

Liverpool and Manchester were joint second place, with both cities boasting 63 drive-through restaurants. 

In third place was the city of Glasgow, equipped with an impressive 62 drive-through restaurants. 

In fourth place was Birmingham, with a respectable 57 drive-throughs to be visited. 

Trailing in last place was Edinburgh, with a measly 14 drive-throughs. 

But when it comes to the cities that offer the best drive through experiences, which ones rank the highest..? 

Which UK cities have the best and worst drive-throughs? 

Bristol and Leicester both land themselves in a tied first place, with an unbeatable drive-through score of 10 out of 10.

From their renowned coffee shops like Costa Coffee and Starbucks to their range of popular fast food joints like McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King - your every drive-through need is taken care of.

Taking second spot as one of the best UK drive-through cities is London, with an overall score of 8.9 out of 10.

In the bustling capital of England, if you need a quick coffee fix to keep your buzz going, then Starbucks and Costa are rated the best drive-throughs to stop at.

Bristol takes equal top spot as best city for drive-throughs 

Wondering what the best drive-throughs to visit in Bristol are? The fast food giants McDonald’s and Burger King are leading the way with the highest ratings. Gathering data based on five metrics (Google Rating, Distance to City Centre, Number of Reviews, Reviews Mentioning Good Service, and Reviews Mentioning Poor Service) to give a total out of 50 - the scores have been revealed…

McDonald’s (AvonMeads Shopping Park, BS2 0SP) takes the crown for being the best drive-through in Bristol, with a total score of 42 out of 50. The fast food giant that has received 2,112 reviews in total has scored full marks (10/10) for its reviews mentioning good service - so it’s clear that the Bristolians are ‘lovin’ it’. From Big Macs to Happy Meals, the popular food spot has scored a promising 3.85/5 stars, and the even better news is that you won’t have to travel far, as it’s only 1.8 miles from Bristol city centre (giving it a distance to city score of 7.9/10).

Leicester joins Bristol in first place as the best drive-through city in the UK

From getting a coffee fix to picking up fast food, Leicester is home to a number of drive-throughs offering up something for everyone. But with so many to choose from, where should you begin?

Starbucks (Upperton Rd, LE3 0BG) is stealing the hearts of those living in Leicester, as it tops the table with a score of 39.8 out of 50. Whether it’s a quick Cappuccino to kick-start the day or a seasonal speciality Latte, you are always guaranteed great service. The drive-through received 68 reviews mentioning good service, giving it a good reviews score of 9.3/10 and an even more impressive 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google. So, if you’ve been swayed to stop by for a coffee on your travels in Leicester, you’ll be glad to know its distance to city score was also 10/10, meaning it’s just 1.2 miles from the city centre.

The second best UK city for drive-throughs emerges as London

London boasts a number of drive-through options from fast food, coffee shops, dessert stops and restaurants serving homemade Indian cuisine, but which locations come out on top?

Starbucks (Belvedere Road, SE1 7GQ) ranks as the best drive-through in London, with a total of 37.0 out of 50. Alongside keeping the commuters caffeinated, this highly-rated Starbucks also prides itself on delivering great customer service. The coffee shop has received a 3.8/5 on Google and has received only 13 reviews mentioning poor service, giving it a score of 7.7 /10. The Starbucks is also conveniently located just 0.7 miles from the city centre, giving it a distance to city score of 10/10.

Sheffield named third best city for drive-throughs 

Sheffield, known as the ‘Steel City’, can add another moniker, as it’s crowned the best city in the North of England for drive-throughs, with a total score of 7.8 out of 10.

The Northern city is particularly fond of its McDonald’s with the fast food chain taking first, second, and third place for the city’s best drive-throughs. 

Taking first spot is McDonald’s (Archer Road Millhouses, S8 0JT) scoring 32.9/50, whilst McDonald's (Granville St, S2 2TP) came in second at 32.1/50 and McDonald's (Meadowhall Centre S9 1EP) took third with 31.7/50.

Which UK cities have the WORST drive-through offerings?

Stopping at a drive through for a quick bite or beverage can sometimes be a disappointing experience - particularly if you're stuck waiting in a queue for an age or if you end up with an incomplete order. Frustrating doesn't even cover it! 

That’s why it’s essential you choose your drive-through wisely... and perhaps give these UK cities a swerve. 

Edinburgh tops the table as the city that has the worst drive-through options available, with a shockingly low drive-through score of 0/10.

Our data shows that the city’s worst rated drive-through to visit is KFC (Hermiston Gait, EH11 4DG) with a score of 15.8/50

Krispy Kreme (Hermiston Gait, EH12 9DJ) followed closely behind in second with 18.10/50 and Burger King (Whitehill Rd, EH15 3HR) in third with 19/50.

The best drive-through location to visit out of a bad bunch in Edinburgh is Costa Coffee (Meadowbank Retail Park, EH7 5TS) with a score of 31/50.

Liverpool lands in second place for its disappointing drive-throughs, with an equally unappealing score of 1.1 out of 10.

KFC (Speke Rd, L19 2PA) has emerged as the lowest rated of the drive-throughs in Liverpool, with a poor score of 15.4 out of 50, meaning you might want to get your Zinger Burger elsewhere.

Starbucks (Dunnings Bridge Rd, L30 6UZ) scoring 17.7/50 and Taco Bell (Irlam Dr, L32 8RJ) with 18.4/50, are the next two more disappointing drive-throughs for Liverpudlians to visit.

Manchester ranks as the third worst city for a visit to a drive-through, with a disappointing score of 2.2 out of 10.

McDonald's (Walter St, M9 4DH) ranked as the worst drive-through in Manchester according to our data, and with an unappetising score of 12.9 out of 50, so that Happy Meal may not be as happy as you hoped.

Up next on Manchester’s list of unfavourable drive-throughs is Subway (Trafford Rd, M5 3AW) with a score of 14.4/50 and KFC (Hyde Rd, M18 7AA) with a score of 17.1/50.

Methodology: Taking a seedlist of the most populated UK cities and their drive-through offering, the team at Select Car Leasing have uncovered the best and worst places in the UK for drive through experiences. To determine this, the following criteria was used:

  • Google Ratings
  • Google Reviews through conduction of semantic analysis
  • Distance from the drive through to the city centre

The scoring of the data was based on the number of metrics the data has been measured on - Google Rating, Distance To City Centre, Number Of Reviews, Reviews Mentioning Good Service, and Reviews Mentioning Poor Service.

For each individual metric, the team ranked the data to create a score out of 10. When adding all 5 metric scores for each individual Drive-Through, a score of 50 was provided.

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024