Friendlier, faster, healthier. That’s the buzz in the fast food market at present. All chains are trying to build their brands based on these parameters. Amid the growing competition to excel, it is quite interesting to see how fast food giant McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) is faring. To be honest, the company has so far focused on growth and the result, as they say, is history. But is McDonald’s living up to the expectations of its millions of fans?
As per last year’s results of the annual study made by QSR Magazine, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) ranked second last out of the seven chains surveyed for staff friendliness. Privately held Chick-fil-A topped the charts for very pleasant service in 57.4% of its restaurants surveyed, while Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) came last with 27.4%. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) was just one notch above the last spot with 27.6%. What’s worse is that the company also fared poorly when evaluated for lackadaisical or mechanical behavior.
Sensing that things were amiss McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) has recently introduced more feedback mechanisms such as e-mail ids on the packets for lodging customer grievances. Recent results compiled from all feedback channels reveal that one in every five customer complaints have to do with staff rudeness.
Within the $200 billion Quick Service Restaurant or QSR space, drive-throughs account for around 50%-70% of total sales. Speed is a key factor for the success of any chain. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) has always been quite an under performer on this parameter. But over the last six months, things have become worse as evident from customer complaints reporting “too slow” service.
McDonald’s holds the number five position when it comes to speed of service taking all of 189 seconds to serve its customers.
Eating healthy is the order of the day as the country fights obesity, heart problems, and other perils. Recent studies by researcher GrubHub show that in the first quarter of 2013, requests for healthy takeout orders have gone up 10% over last year and by 50% over 2011.
In another study by YouGov BrandIndex, fast food chains have been measured on the basis of how healthy a fast food chain is perceived by consumers. Here, too, McDonald’s lags peers like Subway, which has the highest score as well as others.
The results are quite shocking as the company lags its peers in terms of courtesy, promptness, and healthier food options. Its U.S. sales have already started waning from last year, a clear indication that immediate action is required.
Rival The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ:WEN) has been holding the top spot for speed, and is better placed than McDonald’s in terms of friendlier behavior.
The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ:WEN) has a service time of 130 seconds in its drive thrus. Taco Bells, which occupies the second position, is a good 20 seconds behind. According to the QSR magazine, Wendy’s has retained is leading position for the last 16 years. The company has mastered the art of optimizing its kitchen layout and assembly area to such an extent that it is able to stay much ahead of its competitors, and consistently so.
In terms of staff friendliness, behavior has been found to be very pleasant in 30.5% of its outlets. This is not exemplary for sure, but still better than McDonald’s. McDonald’s should watch out for Wendy’s as it is going great guns in terms of boosting its brand. It is restructuring operations, modernizing store layout, launching new ad campaigns, and also increasing healthier menu options.