McDonald’s customers are really upset (Chick-fil-A is just laughing)
The pandemic is, it seems, officially over.
This means that some companies will adapt by ordering their employees back to the office.
Other companies, however, have concluded that after adjusting the way they do business and increasing their investments in technology, there may be no reason to go back to old ways.
Also: Remote work has changed the rules of work, so be careful
I can’t help, for example, feeling the reluctance of fast food companies to entice customers to come and sit in their restaurants.
Instead, online ordering, delivery, and drive-thru have become such bastions of modern life that, well, why bother filling your restaurant? Either way, wouldn’t that require more hiring, which no company likes to do?
The problem for many fast food companies, however, has been that injecting more technology into, say, their drive-thru offerings hasn’t instantly solved their problems.
Chick-fil-A, for example, has openly admitted that 30% of its customers leave because the drive-thru line is too long. Worse, some cities are resisting Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru because it causes traffic jams.
Yet the company continued to invest — by engaging employees iPad in parking lots, and offering two drive-thru lanes, one for mobile orders and the other for everyday people who are suddenly hungry.
One would imagine, then, that Chick-fil-A’s customers are very annoyed by all of this. This may be the restaurant whose employees say it’s a pleasure to serve you, but the pleasure tends to fade if you can’t get your food when you want it.
It’s not just Chick-fil-A’s problem, of course. Most fast food chains struggle to please.
So I got carried away with the latest US Customer Satisfaction Index scores to see just how unhappy fast food customers really are. They surely happily punished fast food brands for their flawed ways and failure to solve every problem with exciting new technology.
And my God, has human nature unfolded in such a fascinating way.
Domino’s, Starbucks, Taco Bell, Popeyes and Five Guys, for example, are all down three whole percentage points from 2021, a huge drop when trying to please all of America.
Also: Chick-fil-A just took an idea from Starbucks (and some customers may hate it)
And they weren’t even the worst.
Look at McDonald’s. Despite its huge investments in drive-in robots, delivery and mobile ordering, here are its customers dropping their satisfaction score by four points. Only Dunkin’ – the artist formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts – has crumbled so much.
It seems quite unfair. Why would McDonald’s customers be so much more unhappy than most other chains? Has McDonald’s really been much worse than so many of its competitors? In fact, what did McDonald’s apparently do so wrong? Surely all of this can’t be caused by his constantly malfunctioning ice cream machines.
I’ve asked McDonald’s for their perspective on this puzzling situation and will update if I get it.
Also: How McDonald’s continues to be embarrassed by an engineer’s little app
It all seems strange.
Pizza Hut, Panera, Jack In The Box, Sonic and Arby’s only lost one point. Painful, but not irreversible. Still, there were McDonald’s customers, grumbling as if someone had stolen a fry. Or even all of them.
But what about Chick-fil-A? His customers would surely have tweaked his nose and made rude gestures in his direction. But no. They seemed to have laughed and said, “Everything is fine here.” Yes, their satisfaction scores remained the same.
The only fast food brands that matched Chick-fil-A’s performance were Chipotle and Wendy’s. But Chipotle’s satisfaction scores are six points below Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s at ten points.
Some might then conclude that furiously updating your tech can’t go any further. If you don’t have a really strong brand that produces a consistent product that customers are actively adopting, you may have a bigger problem than you thought.
It’s quite staggering, indeed, that McDonald’s – which recently announced the consolidation of its Chicago Innovation Center – is fifteen points behind Chick-fil-A in satisfaction. I admit it doesn’t make much sense to me.
McDonald’s new innovation center will be called Speedee Labs.
It seems, however, that speed isn’t everything.