Why McDonald's Satisfaction Surveys Might Not Be Entirely True

Sometimes it's simply easier to do something yourself. At least, that seems to be the spirit of some McDonald's general managers in their approach to the chain's customer satisfaction surveys. Yesterday, one worker took to the McDonald's employees' subreddit to reveal how they used to be asked by their general manager to fill out five surveys, which netted them an hour's pay. So, they didn't think much about it — they just assumed that that particular manager was "radical compared to GMs [general managers] in the past." However, they later discovered that this was a policy required by "our corporate," and a failure to comply would result in write-ups and later sacking. 

The original poster does not specify whether the corporate they mention is McDonald's headquarters or the firm that manages the local franchises. Nevertheless, it seems safe to assume they mean the latter. McDonald's headquarters has little to gain from forging customer satisfaction scores, but the more local franchisees who relay the scores to headquarters could be seeking an edge over their colleagues. 

It also seems more like a local scheme than one that spans the entire empire, as responses to the news were mixed. Some people said that the original poster should report this shady business practice to other workers and admitted that their general managers also required them to fill out surveys. Another response explains that the general district managers and general managers of highly-rated McDonald's restaurants receive bonuses, so having their workers fill surveys is an attempt to net them money for next to no cost.

McDonald's customers aren't that satisfied

A mildly amusing aspect of this revelation is that McDonald's has a relatively lower satisfaction rating than most of its rivals. In July, the Miami Herald reported that in this year's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), McDonald's came bottom of all fast-food restaurants. This includes Subway, which attempted a refresh campaign with free sandwiches that tempted almost nobody (per Yahoo). 

In fairness, though, Statista shows that McDonald's rating of 70 points in the index is the highest it's been since 2014. Normally, you'd expect McDonald's to worry that while their franchisees buff up their reported satisfaction ratings, other surveys are placing them below every other company. However, it appears that a customer's dissatisfaction does not necessarily impact loyalty to the McDonald's brand. In 2013, HuffPost noted that despite the fact that McDonald's only "extremely satisfied" 22 percent of their customers, 64 percent intended to come again. Moreover, even in that piece, McDonald's boasted a history of low customer satisfaction when it comes to the food. 

The point is that McDonald's doesn't satisfy but provides a cheap, easy, and predictable food substance. So, people will return to McDonald's for that convenience — not really for the food itself. And as long as sales numbers stay healthy, the franchise owners can apparently lie and battle it out amongst themselves.