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Customer Study Ranks McDonald's Last In Nation <b></b>

Ann Arbor, Michigan-McDonald's received the lowestcustomer satisfaction rating among national fast-food chains in anewly released study conducted by the University of MichiganBusiness School.

The report, which yielded the American Customer Satisfactionindex, said McDonald's score dropped 3.3 percent in the fourthquarter of 2000 from the year-earlier period, giving the chain arating of 59 out of a possible 100, about 10 points lower than theindustry average. The report said consumer complaints against thefast-food giant ranged from slow service to advertisements thatdon't match real products.

McDonald's refuted the survey's findings. "Thesesamplings 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. wereup 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 dipped1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, to a rating of 70, the industryaverage. Taco Bell's score dropped 1.6 percent to 63. PapaJohn's topped the list of fast-food contenders with a 77, thecategory's highest quarterly rating.

Compiled from more than 50,000 interviews with consumers, theindex and report are generated by the National Quality ResearchCenter and the university's business school. -Nation'sRestaurant News

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