It’s Not Just The Burger

This Foodie Friday, the topic is Fast Food. Specifically, we’re going to see what we can learn from the rankings of fast food chains in the latest Temkin Ratings Report. What the heck are the Temkin Ratings?

English: McDonalds' sign in Harlem.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Temkin Experience Ratings are based on consumer feedback of their recent interactions with companies. We asked consumers to rate three components of the experience, Success, Effort, and Emotion, on a 7-point scale. For each component, we take the percentage of consumers that gave a rating of 6 or 7 and subtract the percentage that gave a rating of 1, 2, or 3. This results in a “net goodness” rating for each of the three components. The overall Temkin Experience Rating is an average of the three “net goodness” percentages.

In other words, they’re measuring if customers could do what they wanted to do, how easy it was to complete the interaction and their overall feelings about the interaction. In this case, it might be if the chain had the food item you wanted or prepared it the way you asked, was there a long wait or other impediment to you getting you food, and how pleasant the experience was.

Here is the business paradox and perhaps a learning. McDonald’s and Burger King didn’t do very well. In fact, as one site reported:

McDonald’s ranked dead-last among fast-food restaurants in the report, but there must be a masochistic streak among American consumers. Though the restaurant remains one of “the most commonly disliked fast-food establishments” in the U.S., last month Nation’s Restaurant News reported that McDonald’s is also the most-visited chain in the country.

So here is the question.  McDonald’s has placed a lot of emphasis on improving the menu – healthier items, more organic ingredients – and they now offer their popular breakfast items all day.  Sales are much better, and revenue and profits are two critical boxes on the scorecard in business.  I get that.  However, maybe they should have been spending more time improving the customer experience.  I can’t imagine that there is any sense of loyalty here.  The ratings seem to indicate that consumers go to McDonald’s either because it’s cheap or convenient and not out of any sense of enjoyment.  I don’t see that as a formula for long-term customer retention.

The thing for us to remember is that customers aren’t looking at your balance sheet.  They look at the product or service as well as the totality of their interaction with you.  If you’re not measuring and taking those things into account as you compile the financials, you’re probably missing a critical part as you analyze the health or your business.  Make sense?

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