McDonald's Customer Loyalty Is Far From Soaring

In a year marked by food price surges, McDonald's has tried to win back customer affection by dropping prices on burgers, nuggets, and more through December 2022. According to Eat This, Not That, McDonald's reported that their menu prices had gone up an average of 10% year-over-year for the third quarter of 2022 versus the same time at the end of last year. The world said goodbye to the long-famous dollar menu this year, as well.

Despite the price hikes and reduction in low-cost options, consumers continued to frequent the burger chain, with same-store traffic up 9.5%, almost as much as prices (per CNBC). But despite their continued patronage, McDonald's is losing face with their guests. Insider reported that customer complaints over menu price increases are on the rise. One employee from a North Carolina McDonald's reported "customer harassment" and "emotional abuse" over matters as trivial as 10-cent price increases and an increase in bad behavior from customers on the whole, including some leaving messes behind for the staff to clean up.

Lack of customer loyalty

While the chain's reputation for cheap eats may be keeping customers coming through the door who want to dine out and are shying away from more expensive options given the current inflation situation, McDonald's current surge in customer popularity doesn't apparently speak to customer satisfaction.

In a recent survey conducted by Market Force Information in the summer of 2022, McDonald's customer loyalty left something to be desired. The research, which surveyed 5,173 people, found that McDonald's ranked very last in customer loyalty among the 52 restaurants included in the study. Customer loyalty was measured as "combining satisfaction and recommendation." What drives satisfaction? According to the study, the quality of the food, atmosphere, service speed, pricing, and staff friendliness form the basis of satisfaction. Out of a possible 5-point score, Mickey D's scored a 3.7. Others bringing in the bottom were Jack in the Box and Burger King, who tied with slightly better than a 3.8. At the top of the customer loyalty ladder were Chick-fil-A, In-N-Out Burger, and Papa Murphy's.