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Fast Food Customer Service Scores

Posted by: Nanette Byrnes on May 19, 2009

The University of Michigan’s latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index is out today and there are some surprisingly pleased consumers out there. Even airlines and hospitals are enjoying an up year.

Fast food, which has been climbing steadily since the mid 1990s, tied last year’s record high customer satisfaction figures “Overall they’ve done quite well in matching what they have, including price, to what a growing percentage of the population want,” says Claes Fornell, head of the index.

Of course some have done better than others. The key factor for chains that did well, explains Fornell, is the measurement that the survey is finding to be most important to consumers across all categories: value for the money. That’s not just low prices, but also a sense you’ve gotten what you paid for.

McDonald’s, with simple innovations like better coffee, does well by that measure these days. The burger giant was rewarded with a 1.4% climb last year to a score of 70. That’s better than both Kentucky Fried Chicken, which dropped 1.4%, and Burger King, which fell 2.8%, the biggest drop in the group. Burger King was late to recognize the consumer’s value focus.

Traditionally, Fornell explains, McDonald’s always had one of the lowest customer service rankings. They didn’t need to be tops at customer service because they could compete on price, convenience and standardization. This is the first time, he notes, the Golden Arches has beaten out BK or KFC, and he credits innovations on the menu. “They keep putting out new combinations, trying new things, and right now it’s working.”

Reader Comments


May 19, 2009 11:07 AM

Stop eating at Mcdonalds. They are out to get you...............

Tim Flowers

May 19, 2009 11:30 AM

I agree with their findings. When I think "value" I think of McDonald's. I don't expect great food, just plenty of it at a low price. Burger King and KFC are too expensive. Hardee's is also expensive but they have a higher quality product than BK. I rarely consider Wendy's...I don't care for their food...their burgers taste like they were boiled instead of broiled.

Wilting Petals

May 19, 2009 11:48 AM

Tim Flowers, may I interest you in a Hoveround?


May 19, 2009 12:09 PM

I never realized there were only 4 fast food joints out there.


May 19, 2009 12:09 PM

Large black iced coffee with no sugar. Grilled chicken club sandwich with no mayo. 400 calories. McDonalds sells what the people want to buy. They have no reason to "get you". They have every reason to "get you" to eat at their restaurant. It's not like they kidnap you and ram fries down your gullet. Personal responsibility please.

Hasan Yardimci

May 19, 2009 12:35 PM

McDonald's has significantly improved in the past decade in terms of delivering relevant & high quality foods (e.g., salads, snack wraps), expanding share into new occasions / dayparts (e.g., coffee, mcgriddle), improving experience in the store (e.g., cleaner stores, faster lines) as well as moving consumer perceptions about their overall brand (e.g., I'm loving it). I believe this is a great example of a turnaround for a company that people used to think growth options were limited and brand would be on a decline given competitive pressures.

Ted Feely

May 19, 2009 1:09 PM

Paris Viewpoint
My wife and I are visiting Paris and even the Parisiennes(at least the young crowd) seem to love McDonalds.


May 19, 2009 2:06 PM

Supersize yourself!

I'm a 40+ vegan (full hair, no wrinkles or flab), my 21yo girlfriend loves my tight body (in better shape than lots of 20somethings).

Shep Hyken

May 19, 2009 2:07 PM

This is a lesson for any business. Customer satisfaction is more than just great service. Today the educated consumer wants good service and a good value. In normal times, a great service experience can help reduce pricing issues. Now, the consumer wants both service and a good value for the money. That doesn't always mean a low price, but it does make price more relevant.

Shep Hyken, author of The Cult of the Customer.


May 19, 2009 2:31 PM

Wendy's and Taco Bell are still way ahead of McDonald's in % increase from last year but i agree that if McDonald's continues to show a good % increase year over year for the next few years, it won't be too long before it regains its position at the helm of the Fast Food restaurant business.

Does anyone know the sampling of the user population that the ASCI folks picked for the surveys?


May 20, 2009 9:58 PM

I personally have been eating $2 meals at McDonalds recently. $1 McChicken + $1 parfait. I couldn't get this cheaper at a supermarket.


May 20, 2009 10:20 PM

I personally have been eating $2 meals at McDonalds recently. $1 McChicken + $1 parfait. I couldn't get this cheaper at a supermarket.


May 29, 2009 2:36 AM

Personally, I've ate at McDonald's across the South in several different states and all kinds of cities. The don't have wonderful customer service, but it has been better than my experiences at both Wendy's and Burger King. At least there if my order is not correct I don't get blamed for them ringing up the wrong items. Plus I love the sweet tea and fries!


June 1, 2009 4:00 AM

yea i love Mc man


December 13, 2009 4:33 PM

thank you

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