One group of restaurants that has survived the pandemic shutdown almost entirely is America’s big fast food operations. In some cases, this may have been a result of strong balance sheets. Companies like Yum! Brands (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) and McDonald’s have hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and short term investments.
Despite this, some of their ability to last through weeks of closures was due to layoffs, often of workers who made little more than the minimum wage. That probably has something to do with the fact that McDonald’s has been named the worst fast food chain for customer service.
One of the debates about fast food is whether people care enough about what they eat to avoid unhealthy food or poor services, if the food is convenient and cheap enough. Certainly, most food and beverages served at McDonald’s are not part of the federal government’s “Current Dietary Guidelines,” much of whose advice is to keep fat, sugar, and sodium at low levels. (These are 30 fast foods that are real calorie bombs.)
To determine the fast food restaurant chains that enjoy the highest and lowest levels of customer satisfaction, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the “American Customer Satisfaction Index Restaurant Study 2021-2022” published by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which is among the largest and most well-respected consumer survey operations in the country.
The ACSI tracks consumer preferences across 47 industries and 400 companies, rating companies on a scale of 1 to 100. Among the companies tracked are both fast food and full service restaurants. A total of 20,143 people were surveyed from April 2021 to March 2022. (For companies of all kinds, this is where Americans were most satisfied with customer service.)
Among the most important things to fast food customers were order accuracy, staff courtesy, beverage and food quality, mobile app, store layout, and speed of check-out or delivery. The average score across the fast food industry was 76 – down from 78 in 2021.
One fast food company has had a remarkable run: Chick-fil-A has topped the fast food rankings eight years in a row. This year, as in the previous year, its score was 83. At the bottom of the list of 23 fast food restaurant chains this year is McDonald’s with a score of 68, down from 70 in 2021.
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