Taco Bell, McDonalds, At Bottom Of Consumer Satisfaction Survey

Taco Bell and KFC were near the bottom of 2014's customer satisfaction survey

The newest report from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index is out, and fast food restaurants fared poorly, particularly McDonald’s and Taco Bell. In fact, consumer satisfaction was down for many companies, with only Pizza Hut and the overall grouping of smaller chains improving.

It may come as a particular surprise to see those two at the bottom, though, with McDonald’s carrying the flag as the defining name in fast food, and with Taco Bell trending on Twitter several times a week.

Still, it may help to understand why both brands are seeking to draw customers in new ways, with McDonald’s upgrading restaurants to look more upscale and adding televisions and fake fireplaces, and Taco Bell working to pull in consumers with new flavor combinations, such as the newest Doritos Locos Taco flavors FoodBeast has confirmed, and even going so far as to open a new upscale offshoot taco restaurant with specialty foods ranging from beer milkshakes to lobster taco dishes.

It’s also notable that McDonald’s sales have slumped lately, which CBS notes may be in part due to public dissatisfaction with the way the company markets its products and treats employees, but which this ASCI report may suggest has more relation to customer satisfaction overall.

The full report, which can be found at the ASCI.org site (registration required), placed customer service at smaller chains, such as Panera Bread and Chipotle, at the top of the list, with an average of 84 points out of a possible 100 in consumer satisfaction. Following those are Papa John’s and Pizza Hut, at 82 points.

McDonalds placed dead last, at 71 points of consumer satisfaction, and Taco Bell second last with only one point more than that. Taco Bell’s sister company, KFC, is third lowest-rated, at 74 points.

Attempts by Taco Bell and McDonald’s to upclass their brands may be futile, as full-service restaurants actually received a slightly lower average consumer satisfaction rating than fast food places: an average of 82 compared to the limited-service average of 84.

While the overall satisfaction with these particular establishments has dropped from 2013’s survey, the overall satisfaction with fast food places has increased in a few areas that may surprise many take-out fans, such as ‘courtesy and helpfulness of the staff,’ ‘accuracy of food order,’ and ‘quality of food,’ which increased by a whopping three points of satisfaction each.

These satisfaction levels may suggest that instead of trying out newer flavors and fancier chairs, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and other chains might see better results from simply improving interaction with customers.

[Photo Credit: TenPoundHammer]