Being the biggest doesn't necessarily yield the happiest customers, according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index released Tuesday. Oak Brook-based McDonald's Corp. received the lowest customer satisfaction ranking of any full-service or fast-food chain on the survey, with 73 percent satisfaction, up from 72 percent.
McDonald's, which serves 68 million customers around the world
every day, has been a historically poor performer on the satisfaction index. The
chain has shown significant improvement in the past decade, up from 61 percent
satisfaction in 2002. Competitors Burger
King and Wendy's have posted smaller gains over the last decade, but their
ratings were still higher in 2011. Wendy's outperformed all burger rivals with a
78 percent rating, and Burger King remained at 75 percent.
dominated the survey of limited service chains, or those without table service.
Papa John's was at the top of the heap with 83 percent satisfaction, followed by
Little Caesars, with 82 percent. Pizza Hut brought up the rear at 78
Subway and Dunkin'
Donuts debuted at 82 percent and 79 percent satisfaction. Dunkin's
performance was good enough to beat Starbucks,
which slipped to 76 percent from 80 percent the year before.
restaurants took a beating. Red
Lobster was the only chain to improve, to 83 from 82 percent. Outback
Steakhouse held steady at 81 percent, while Olive
Garden slipped to 80 percent from 82 percent, Applebee's debuted at 77
percent, and Chili's slipped to 76 from 79 percent.
Looking at the
industry, the average household ate out three times per week during 2011, which
is expected to remain unchanged this year. Trips to fast food restaurant
increase slightly, to six trips per month in 2011 from five in 2010. Overall
fast food satisfaction grew 1.3 percent in 2011, while full service restaurants
slipped 2.4 percent, bringing fast food and full service a tie at 80 percent
The ASCI pointed to value offerings in fast food and
improved quality perception at fast food chains, and lack of differentiation at
full service chains, for the change.