McDonald’s Customers Aren’t Smiling

Sep 06, 2002

McDonald’s has a customer service issue according to, well, McDonald’s. In an internal memo released by Mark Kalinowski, analyst, Salomon Smith Barney, the fast food giant has described its hourly employees as rude, slow and bungling, according to the Restaurant Business web site.

Marty Ranft, vp of quality, service and cleanliness, in McDonald’s memo to company franchisees said that the chain has slipped to third behind Burger King and Wendy’s on critical customer service measures. Mr. Ranft wrote, “To lag behind our competitors on this attribute certainly hurts our pride, but it also represents a major threat to the equity of our brand and the equity of each of your restaurants.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is customer service in fast food
operators any worse today than it has ever been? What can McDonald’s do to fix
its customer service problems beyond asking employees to smile?

Service has always been more corporate speak than reality
in fast food operations. So what is the company doing about its customer service
problem? It is looking at increasing the number of staff on hand during peak
hours. It is also asking franchise owners to ask their employees to smile. Yikes!

In a separate but related McDonald’s story we found on
the web site of The Wall Street Journal, the company is asking franchisees
to consider a discount menu with 10 items under $1. It would seem that if service
can’t be good, then the food ought to be cheap. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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