Customer Study Ranks McDonald's Last In Nation

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Ann Arbor, Michigan-McDonald's received the lowest customer satisfaction rating among national fast-food chains in a newly released study conducted by the University of Michigan Business School.

The report, which yielded the American Customer Satisfaction index, said McDonald's score dropped 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2000 from the year-earlier period, giving the chain a rating of 59 out of a possible 100, about 10 points lower than the industry average. The report said consumer complaints against the fast-food giant ranged from slow service to advertisements that don't match real products.

McDonald's refuted the survey's findings. "These samplings don't track with the facts about our business," the company said in a statement released from its Oak Brook, Illinois, headquarters. "McDonald's sales in the U.S. were up last year as we proudly served more than 8 billion customers, which is strong evidence of customer satisfaction."

In the study's restaurant category, Wendy's score dipped 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, to a rating of 70, the industry average. Taco Bell's score dropped 1.6 percent to 63. Papa John's topped the list of fast-food contenders with a 77, the category's highest quarterly rating.

Compiled from more than 50,000 interviews with consumers, the index and report are generated by the National Quality Research Center and the university's business school. -Nation's Restaurant News