McDonald's is attributing its recent struggles to the less-than-sunny dispositions of the teenagers taking your order. "Service is broken," declared a slide in a webcast for franchise owners last month. Customer complaints have been rising, executives told the franchisees, with "rude or unprofessional employees" topping the list, the Wall Street Journal reports. About 1 in 5 complaints related to friendliness, while others were about speed of service.
One study last year gave McDonald's one of the worst drive-thru service times in the business, and the second-worst friendliness rating, ahead of only Burger King. "The new leadership has decided to focus on customer satisfaction as a real driver for us," one franchisee said. But it's unclear how much McDonald's can do as a corporation, given that 90% of its US restaurants are owned by individual franchisees. "I think it's an ongoing problem, and it always will be," another franchisee says. (Read more McDonald's stories.)