Survey Says: McDonald’s Customers Aren’t Satisfied But They’re Likely To Return Anyway

Do you have that one friend who you don’t like very much, but who is at least always available when you feel like doing something? That seems to be the way a lot of people view McDonald’s.

A new survey from the folks at Consumer Edge Insight looked at 20 fast food chains to review various factors — good value, convenience, fast service, overall satisfaction — and found something curious about the way customers view the Golden Arches.

The survey, which only counted people who had been at the different restaurants at least once in the previous 3 months, asked respondents if they were extremely satisfied by their last visit to the eatery. Only 22% of McDonald’s customers said yes, by far the lowest score in the survey. Even the next-to-last company in this category, Burger King, scored about 10 percentage points higher. Meanwhile, category leader Chick fil-A’s score was three times better than McDonald’s.

And yet, when these same people were asked if they were extremely like to visit that restaurant again, McDonald’s and Chick fil-A had basically identical, very positive results (64% and 67%, respectively). Only Subway scored better in this category with 68% of visitors saying they would come back.

So why, when other studies show McDonald’s burgers are not up-to-par with the rest of the industry, and with so many customers not feeling satisfied by their experience there, do they keep coming back?

The answer may lie in the other categories of this survey. Respondents put McDonald’s first in perceived value, convenient locations, and fast service. So customers will put up with food that doesn’t knock their socks off if they can get it easily, affordably and quickly.

“McDonald’s high repeat-purchase intention scores despite their lower satisfaction scores illustrates the strength of their brand on the attributes that matter most to quick-service customers,” explains David Decker, president of Consumer Edge Insight.

For what it’s worth, the chains with the best ratings for the taste of their food were Subway, Chick fil-A, and Wendy’s.