Survey: McDonald’s big loser in customer satisfaction index

Ann Arbor, Mich. The University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index released Tuesday revealed that sales growth isn’t always an indicator of customer satisfaction. The ACSI, which measures the quality of consumer products and services in five industries (airlines, hotels, restaurants, fast food and express delivery) bases its rankings on a 100-point satisfaction scale. Key findings of the latest report include improvements in satisfaction ratings for Burger King, KFC, Papa John’s, Hyatt and United Airlines, while Delta Air Lines, McDonald’s and the U.S. Postal Service experienced declines in customer satisfaction.

In the fast-food and restaurant category, pizza makers came out on top, with Papa John’s leading the pack at a score of 80 (up 7% from last year). Pizza Hut (+5%) and Little Caesar (+4%) followed at 78. KFC and Burger King were the other big gainers, up 9% to 75 and 7% to 74, respectively. McDonald’s alone dropped in the category, falling 4% to an industry low of 67.

“This may seem somewhat paradoxical in view of McDonald's sales growth over the past year, particularly compared to competition,” said Fornell. “But as increasingly frugal consumers have made price more salient, McDonald’s has acquired more customers. These newcomers seem less satisfied, and were it not for the economy some of them would probably rather eat somewhere else.”

Olive Garden led the restaurant category, up 4% to 84, followed closely by Red Lobster, up 4% to 83. Outback and Chili’s gained too, but were well behind. Outback improved 4% to 80, while Chili’s was at the bottom, rising 5% to 78.