McDonald’s Brand Strength Keeps Its U.S. Customers Coming Back for More

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It’s like staying up too late, watching Jerry Springer or not being nice to your mother: Many Americans don’t exactly feel good about visiting McDonald’s after they’ve done so, but they’re more than likely to do it again.

That’s one interesting conclusion from the latest survey by Consumer Edge Insight of Americans’ ratings of the biggest fast-food brands and the various attributes of their visits to the QSR chains.

McDonald’s placed No. 1 in the firm’s latest poll in the category of “good value,” with 57 percent. Subway earned 53 percent, and Taco Bell posted 48 percent.

David Decker, president of the research firm, commented on what factors made the grade:[more]

“For quick-service restaurant patrons the most important factors that drive loyalty to a brand are good value and convenience, with low prices and quick-service being very important as wellMcDonald’s has a clear image lead on all of these factors, with Subway consistently being the 2nd-best performing brand and Burger King and Wendy’s also performing well. 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. Smaller brands need to find ways to differentiate themselves to gain share of wallet in this ultra-competitive segment.”

McDonald’s also led in the category of having “very convenient locations, scoring 68 percent. (Subway earned 61 percent, while Taco Bell came in at 50 percent. Burger King also received 50 percent. And the brand also came out on top in the category of “fast service,” taking 64 percent. Taco Bell posted 56 percent and Subway posted 55 percent. One key area where McDonald’s fell down—it did not place first in “great-tasting food.” That honor belonged to Subway, with 58 percent, followed by Chick-fil-A with 54 percent and Wendy’s with 48 percent.

Also, critically, McDonald’s had a relatively low overall satisfaction score, with just 22 percent of those who visited in the past three months saying they were extremely satisfied with their most recent visit. Yet the survey ranked McDonald’s high in the category of customers who said they are likely to visit the restaurants again—with 64 pecent of the same respondents saying it is “extremely likely.”

How is that possible? It seems that McDonald’s brand strengths are such that they make many patrons quickly forget that their last Big Mac was missing some sauce. These are some of the same strengths of being the longest-established, most ubiquitous fast-food brand in America — a status that has helped McDonald’s press through some recent difficulties such as sluggish same-store sales in the U.S. last fall.

McDonald’s high repeat-intention scores despite its low satisfaction scores “illustrates the strength of their brand on the attributes that matter most to quick-service customers,” Decker commented to QSR Magazine.

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