McDonald's to workers: Customers aren't the enemy
Finally, the fast-food giant has heard enough complaints about 'rude employees.' Fixing that problem could make a big difference.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the company has told franchisees that it is getting "mounting complaints about rude employees." This comes as no shock to anyone who has visited a McDonald's in recent years. For too many of the chain's workers, customers are at best a nuisance that they barely tolerate.
Rarely do McDonald's workers apologize for screwing up an order. Most barely even acknowledge the outside world. I've patronized the same McDonald's every Friday for years, and I was pleasantly surprised recently when the drive-thru employee who has taken my order for as long as I can remember said hello to me for the first time. Alas, he hasn't done it since.
I am mindful that working at McDonald's isn't easy. The pay is low, and the stress is high. Employee turnover, not surprisingly, is a huge issue for McDonald's and other fast-food restaurants. If McDonald's wants to improve customer service, one way to start is by encouraging its franchisees to treat their workers better.
One model for the Golden Arches to consider is that of Chick-fil-A, which tops consumer ratings when it comes to friendliness.
Customers at the closely held chain are treated well. Employees will go around to tables asking people if they want a free refill on their drinks or if they want a dessert. Some nights feature family-friendly entertainment such as magicians.
To be clear, Chick-fil-A customers aren't going to think they're in a five-star restaurant, but the attention to detail is nice. It also has paid off. Last year, Chick-fil-A reported sales of $4.6 billion, a 12% gain, which is impressive given the negative publicity it endured over its opposition to gay marriage.
Like Wal-Mart (WMT), McDonald's has positioned its brand around value. That strategy worked when customers were pinching pennies while the economy endured its worst downturn since the Great Depression. As the economy gets better, however, people are less willing to put up with shoddy service and will pay more for a product if they get something in return.
For McDonald's to get out of its slump, it will need to convince people that it provides more than just cheap food.
Jonathan Berr owns a small stake in McDonald's. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
Both McDonalds and Walmart should take a lesson from what happened at Home Depot a few years ago. Home Depot began rewarding managers if they could cut back on the numbers of employees they had in stores which they did. As a result people couldn't find anyone to help them and left frustrated, sales tanked, the stock price tanked and Lowe's was eating their lunch until they finally smartened up. Now when you go in a Home depot one can usually find someone for help when needed. Sales picked up along with the stock price. This isn't rocket science, treat people lousy and they will go elsewhere.
All I know is that they get pissed- off if the bill is $9.01 and you give them $10.01, they can't do the math with using the cash register . The can't figure out that you owe me a $1.00
* The same goes to McDonald's versus Chick-fil-A. I rather pay a bit more for Chick-fil-A. I know their food is good and the workers are always pleasant. I refuse to go to McDonald's. Their food is one grease pit. Their employees just don't appear to care.
* Every corporate giant with bad customer service will have its day in the consumer court. Consumers will be the judge. They will vote with their wallets. Remember Blockbusters?
* Customers no longer want the cheapest prices possible with poor customer service. Those businesses that can deliver good value + a consistent positive customers experience will win in today's tough market..
Well writen and well said - not often I agree with an article.
I am amazed at the folks McDonald's hires, and I don't mean that in a good way.
I assume its got to be difficult to find fast food workers, and a dream job its not - but instead of teaching people to be nice, hire nice people to begin with.
I mean, Chick fill a has figured it out - how tough is it to smile, say hello - and also thank you - a word missing from too many workers today.
Are you telling me that, "Huh?" isn't the correct response when I ask one of them a question?
Hmm, go figure.
We need soem Chick Fil-A's here
in the north east..
Yes Mac Donalds are starting to increase
their prices. But the quality of the breakfast
food, is dismal. Give me a dinner anyday.
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