The invention of the drive-thru marked a huge change in the way we enjoy food and drinks. With tons of convenience, reasonable prices, and no need to stand up, it’s no surprise that the drive-thru phenomenon has become extremely popular in recent years. This prompted us to wonder which drive-thru was the most, well, driven through, and which was the top choice for each country.
By using search volumes and trends from each country in the world, we can show you exactly which drive-thrus are the most popular across the globe. Whether you’re looking to find the most popular drive-thru for your next vacation, it’s important to make sure you have the right car insurance in place to drive in a different country.
The UK's favourite drive-thru is McDonald's
The golden arches are a firm favourite of the UK, with McDonald’s being the most popular drive-thru in the country. There are 74,000 searches every month on average for ‘McDonald’s drive-thru’, putting it in first place by a mile.
This drive-thru is the most popular in London, which alone provides 18,100 searches for the term every month.
In second place for the UK’s favourite drive-thru is Starbucks, which sees an average of 49,500 searches per month. This drive-thru is the favourite of Birmingham (1,900 searches per month), Glasgow (1,300 searches per month) and Manchester (1,000 searches per month). It seems the UK can’t go too long without a caffeine hit.
The UK’s third favourite drive-thru is KFC, with a total of 18,100 searches for ‘KFC drive-thru’ every month on average. While this isn’t any city’s top choice, it’s the runner up in Newport (with 10 searches per month), and the third choice for almost every drive-thru loving city we included excluding two. Colonel Sanders, if you’re reading this, you need to up your game in Sunderland and Newport.
South Africa can't get enough of McDonald's
South Africa also has McDonald’s as its favourite drive-thru. There are 1,900 searches every month for ‘McDonald’s drive-thru’ in the country, and the chain is the favorite of cities such as Cape Town and Pretoria, whose residents search for the term an average of 720 and 260 times a month respectively.
South Africa’s second favourite drive-thru chain is KFC, which also has 1,900 searches each month on average: a number that has stayed the same over the last 12 months. The Colonel’s secret recipe is enjoyed particularly by residents of Johannesburg, who search for ‘KFC drive-thru’ 140 times a month, and Port Elizabeth, who search for the term 40 times a month. Port Elizabeth’s search numbers have increased by 133% in the last 12 months, though, so KFC is only growing bigger there.
In third place is Burger King, which hungry South African residents search for an average of 480 times a month. This chain is the third favourite choice for half of the most drive-thru loving cities in South Africa.
Starbucks is in the top spot as Canada's favourite drive-thru
Canada runs on coffee, apparently, as its top drive-thru choice is Starbucks. The country searches for ‘Starbucks drive-thru’ 33,100 times every month on average, so it’s clearly an extremely popular choice for a mid-drive refreshment.
The establishment is a firm favourite of Toronto, whose residents search for the term 6,600 times a month on average, and Calgary, where the term is searched for 2,400 times a month.
In the unfortunate circumstance that drivers can’t get their Starbucks fix, McDonald’s is Canada’s second favourite drive-thru option. We found 14,800 searches for ‘McDonald’s drive-thru’ a month in Canada on average. The chain isn’t technically any city’s top choice (in Montreal, its 880 searches a month are tied with Starbucks), but it’s the second choice of almost all of them.
In third place is KFC. The finger lickin’ good restaurant sees 1,600 searches a month for ‘KFC drive-thru’. Like McDonald’s, KFC isn’t the top choice of any of the drive-thru-obsessed Canadian cities, nor is it the second. But it is the third choice of 12 out of the 20 cities that search for drive-thrus the most. Baby steps, KFC.
Australia loves McDonald's, KFC and Starbucks the most
Australia is a big fan of the Big Mac, with 6,600 searches a month for the famous golden arches. Sydney enjoys McDonald’s more than any other Australian city, seeing searches top 2,900, beating Melbourne with 1,000, and Brisbane with 480.
If chicken nuggets aren’t an option, Australians’ second choice would be a trip to KFC. Fried food tastes good no matter where you eat it, and with 2,900 searches a month, it’s clearly just as enjoyable in the southern sun. Sydney is again the food’s biggest fan, seeing 1,300 people search for it every month, more than Melbourne with 720, and Perth with only 70.
Completing the country’s top three is a move away from fast food and into fast coffee. Starbucks attracts 2,400 hits every month.
Although Starbucks didn’t quite make the top spot for any Australian city, it sure racks up a lot of searches with Melbourne searching for their caffeine hit 880 times every month, taking the title from Sydney with 590 and Brisbane with 390. The vast number of searches for Starbucks from these cities alone means it sits in third place with some of the biggest fast food drive-thrus worldwide.
In New Zealand, McDonald's is golden
New Zealand and Australia might be divided by the South Pacific, but they’re close together when it comes to their drive-thru tastes.
McDonald’s is again the most popular here, pulling in 720 searches a month with its salty, moreish menu.
Auckland accounts for the majority of these searches, seeing 320 fast food fans search for it every month. In Wellington, only 90 people pass through the golden arches, slightly more than in Christchurch where the figure is 70.
With almost half the appetite, KFC takes New Zealand’s second place. The fried food chain might leave your car smelling quite tasty after visiting a drive-thru, but that’s only enough to entice 320 searches a month. Most of them come from the 170 drivers in Auckland, the 40 in Christchurch and the 20 in Wellington.
Rounding off the Kiwis’ top three is Burger King. The home of the Whopper has 110 searches a month, mainly from Auckland with 70, and Tauranga and Ashburton with 10.
Spain enjoys a McDonald's in the Mediterranean sun
Think of Spain and you might picture paella, fresh fish, sangria and siestas. You might be less likely to imagine a burger with a side of fries, but that’s the country’s favourite drive-thru. It’s in Madrid where people love it the most, looking it up an average of 1,390 times a month. That’s a whole load of nuggets on the menu.
Barcelona is the nation’s second biggest McDonald’s connoisseur, with 950 monthly hits, followed up by Seville with 270.
If a Big Mac isn’t your thing in Spain, you’ll join the 4,400 people a month who prefer Burger King. Burger royalty is again most popular in Madrid, racking up 1,350 hits a month, followed by 350 a month in Barcelona, and 270 in Valencia, where it’s the city’s most popular drive-thru.
Tastebuds still not satisfied? Turn your car to Starbucks, where you’ll find 110 Spaniards at the nation’s third most popular drive-thru. The coffee chain isn’t hugely popular in any Spanish city, only attracting 20 monthly searches in Badalona, Valencia and Seville.
In Argentina, Whoppers are winners
Argentinians love Burger King. There are 2,400 searches for it every month, making it the South American country’s top spot for a bite to eat on the road. Buenos Aires has more King fans than anywhere else - 890 a month in total, beating off competition from Cordoba with 490, and Rosario with 40.
Starbucks drive-thrus come in second, but someway back with only 390 searches a month, showing the country would rather fuel its drives with food instead of coffee. Buenos Aires again accounts for the majority of these searches - the capital city totalling 190 searches a month, more than Cordoba and San Miguel de Tucuman with only 20.
Completing the podium on Argentina’s roads is McDonald’s, who only manages 140 searches a month. The fast food chain’s global dominance isn’t as apparent in this country, as their leading rival takes top spot. Buenos Aires is once again the leading customer, averaging 70 searches a month, edging out the likes of Mendoza and San Miguel de Tucuman who average 20 each.
McDonald's is back on top in Colombia
Ronald and friends are back on form in Colombia, where 480 hungry drivers look for them every month. McDonald’s is no more popular than it is in Bogota, where 340 searches make up the majority of the country’s fast-food fans. If there are any nuggets going spare, they’re shared out between the 40 people in Medellin and Cartagena. Send one our way, yeah?
Burger King’s numbers are pretty low compared to McDonald’s in Colombia, but with a 40% increase in searches over the past year, its 70 monthly searches could be set to rise. Whoppers are shared out quite evenly across the country, with 20 a month in Medellin, Barranquilla and Cartagena.
Finally, Starbucks takes third place with 40 searches a month. In a country famed for its strong coffee beans and rich flavours, it’s no surprise to see the coffee chain struggling here. Cucuta is the one city breaking the trend, averaging 20 searches every month, double the 10 in Ibague and Bello.
Mexicans can't get enough coffee to go
Mexico is the only South American country to prefer Starbucks over other fast food chains. There are 8,100 searches every month here for Starbucks drive-thrus, making them by far the country’s most popular option.
The coffee shop is most popular in the nation’s capital, Mexico City, where 4,430 look up the brand every month. That’s over 10 times as many people as in Guadalajara, with 400 monthly searches, and Puebla with 120. Starbucks searches have gone up by 22% over the past 12 months, showing that its domination is likely to go on for some time to come.
McDonald’s comes second in Mexico with 1,300 monthly searches. The brand is also witnessing a rise in interest, this time by 23% - something that’s helped by the 600 monthly hits in Mexico City, 60 in Guadalajara and 40 in Puebla.
Burger King is Mexico’s third most popular drive-thru. 480 people search for the chain there every month, mostly in Juarez, Leon de los Aldama and Zapopan who average 20 monthly searches each.
Peru prefers to eat its burgers with a side of coffee
Drivers in Peru love Starbucks and McDonald’s just as much as each other, averaging 110 monthly searches each.
However, it looks like Starbucks could be about to take over as there’s been an 80% increase in interest over the past year, while McDonald’s is slowing down to only 23%. In the age-old battle of coffee versus fries, there can only be one winner - and we’re naming Starbucks.
The battle for first place is a close call as the capital of Lima is both Starbucks’ and Mcdonald’s biggest fan, each averaging 30 drive-thru searches every month, along with Arequipa and Callao averaging 20 searches per month. However, Starbucks has seen the biggest increase in trends over the past 12 months, therefore claiming the top spot in these cities.
Despite not earning the top spot in cities like, Huancayo and Pirua, Starbucks ranks the second most searched for drive thru in these cities as well as the third most search for in Trujillo, Chiclayo and Tacna helping them remain on par with their biggest rivals - McDonalds.
Away from the battle for the crown is Burger King, but it’s moving up fast. There’s been a 755 increase in searches for the burger brand over the past year, which could soon see its 50 monthly searches skyrocket. Those searches are shared out evenly between Arequipa, Cusco and Tacna.
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, comments:
"No matter where you are in the world, a drive-thru can be a tempting option, especially if you’ve been on a long journey or you’re driving through dinner.
"However, even if it's a quick stop off, like any car journey you need to make sure you’re insured to drive that car, depending on the law in the country you’re driving in.
"Accidents can happen anywhere, even where you least expect it! Tight corners, crowded car parks and, of course, hot food can all add extra hazards that you might not be used to. Keep your eyes on the road, leave the food until you’re parked up safely, and whatever you do, make sure you’re insured to drive in the country you’re eating in.”
Keywordtool.io was used to calculate the average monthly search volume and 12 month trends for each of the drive-thru brands over the last 12 months. The 'most popular' drive-thrus were decided by those with the highest search volumes (those with more searches are more popular) if there were two brands with the same search volume, then the 12 month trend was used to rank them (those with a higher trend are more popular). When searching for terms such as 'Hungry Jack's' we searched for it without the use of an apostrophe.