Two surveys conducted independently reveal starkly different feelings about McDonald's. One sampled consumer sentiment – the other the feelings of McDonald's franchise operators.
If you guessed that consumers have the negative view and operators the bullish outlook, you would be wrong.
According to the YouGov BrandIndex, McDonald's all-day breakfast, which debuted October 6, is a hit with consumers. The fast food chain has seen the biggest improvement in customer satisfaction among frequent breakfast diners over the past 90 days. McDonald's raised its satisfaction scores approximately seven percentage points from 15 to 22, on a scale from -100 to 100, with zero being neutral.
The survey found 42% of consumers who frequently eat breakfast at fast food restaurants would consider eating at McDonald's the next time they eat breakfast out. That's second behind Subway's 48% and well ahead of Taco Bell, which has made a major breakfast marketing push lately.
Wall Street is also pleased with what new CEO Steve Easterbrook has been doing lately. McDonald's stock is over $103, the highest level in years.
But the second survey may show the company faces some challenges. In fact, it prompted a headline writer for the Daily Mail to write “Is this the beginning of the end for McDonald's?”
The survey is the work of Wall Street analyst Mark Kalinowski, who questioned 29 franchise owners who operate 226 McDonald's restaurants. Admittedly, it's a small sample of the 14,000 McDonald's locations.
But Kalinowski found the overwhelming majority of the owners he surveyed had a negative view – not just of all-day breakfast, which one called “a disaster” – but of the company's future.
Klinowski says one pessimistic operator suggested McDonald's was in its “final days” and that the brand as a whole was in a “deep depression.”
“Seeds of our demise”
Another unhappy franchise owner estimated that 30% of franchise operators are insolvent. Another accused Easterbrook of sowing the “seeds of our demise. We are a quick-serve fast-food restaurant, not a fast casual like Five Guys or Chipotle. The system may be facing its final days,” the operator wrote.
Another franchise owner said “the lack of leadership is frightening.” Some said the company has not addressed the issue of food quality and customer service, and instead has burdened franchises with all-day breakfast while not acting on promises to streamline the menu.
Klinowski quotes one franchisee as saying “we continue to jump from one failed initiative to another.”
The analyst says several franchise owners said the all-day breakfast has slowed down service while causing chaos in the kitchens.
In short, they're not lovin' it.