I have answers for McDonald’s customer service dilemma....

MP910220821McDonald’s has a people problem. McDonald’s needs to remember it’s in the people business. Customers seem to be a necessary evil to McDonald’s. I realize that franchisees most often own the restaurant itself so this applies to them especially.  McDonald’s customers, franchisees and corporate staff may have forgotten that it’s all about people.  I’m a McDonald’s customer who’s seen “way more” bad people service than good service in their facilities. What I witnessed with lack of respect for both customers and co-workers.

I visit our local McDonald’s at least once a week because it’s fast, cheap and reliable….drive up, order, pull up to pay, get food, go home and eat.  That’s been the magic formula for the last twelve years we’ve used our local McDonald’s.  However, the last six times I went to McDonald’s the magic had taken those days off.  I don’t go into the facilities but even from my car I could see disarray inside.  Servicers were not smiling especially at those of us in the drive thru line.  I decided this wasn’t a battle I wanted to tackle…I’ll just go to Burger King which is right across the side.

I’ve reconsidered my decision.  There’s an article in today’s Wall Street Journal – “McDonald’s ‘Says Service is Broken’….Tries a Fix.”  The author talks about the corporation using new ordering software and other procedural fixes.  One idea that caught my attention was the fact that counter employees are trained for their specific jobs so they have no understanding of with other team members are doing.  In theory, this model should run smoothly.  However, reality sets in and if you have one person who falters, there goes your perfect assembly line breaks down.  This system doesn’t work.

Here are my suggestions to McDonald’s to improve customer experiences:

  1. Create or reintroduce “what an exceptional customer experience looks and feels like”.  Your new mantra is “The Customer Experience Rules”.  Everyone is accountable to make this happen every time.
  2. Every corporate employee must spent one week a year working in a franchise location
  3. Every corporate executive must spend two weeks in the trenches performing every function in the restaurant
  4. Continuously remind each other that you’re in the people business and demand excellence from each other.

These are not rocket science answers.  I challenge McDonald’s to step up and set the bar higher to please your customers…..right, steady, GO!


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  • I figure that the first thing McDonald's servers have to do is comprende Inglis.

    But, on a comparative scale, Burger King and Wendy's are much worse. Especially Burger King. Add to that, the average ethnic grocer that caters to Central Europeans instead of Hispanics.

    Also, the McDonald's near me was redesigned with the separate "food delivery area" as indicated in the article. Strangely, though, Wendy's did away with that. But just about any other fast casual restaurant gives you a number. Unfortunately, Panera doesn't buzz your pager. Sometimes, Fuddruckers' doesn't either.

    The model for real polite service is Chick-Fil-A. Maybe that's why Emanuel doesn't like them.

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