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McDonald’s wins on the fast food jobs-to-be-done that matter


Consumer Edge Insight conducted a survey of consumer perceptions about 20 different fast food restaurants. Specifically, how are they ranked by consumer perceptions on different attributes, such as:

  • Good value
  • Convenience
  • Low prices
  • Fast service
  • Great tasting food
  • More…

The customers were asked to rank order the different attributes, and “great tasting food” actually ranked 8th. The first four above were the top ranked attributes.

Which explains this unusual finding when it comes to McDonald’s:

McDonald’s scored very low in “satisfaction with last visit”. Only 22% of respondents were extremely satisfied with their last McDonald’s experience. Highest satisfaction scores went to Chick-fil-A (66%), Long John Silver (56%), and Whataburger (54%).

McDonald’s scored very high in “extremely likely to visit again”. McDonald’s 64% score on that measure was third behind Subway (68%) and Chick-fil-A (67%).

Wha…? Yeah, low satisfaction combined with high intent to visit again. Strange isn’t it? Are consumers masochists? Well, no. The key here is recognizing that customers have a number of jobs-to-be-done when it comes to eating. Translating the four attributes into jobs-to-be-done (using the previously defined structure):

Attribute Context Job Success Metric
Good value When I purchase food… I want to spend the same or less than what I would for preparing the same food myself. Perception that the food quantity and quality is commensurate with the price paid.
Convenience When I need to eat with limited time… I want to find food to eat quickly Decreased time to get to the food that I will eat.
Low prices When I need to feed myself and others… I want food costs that fits within my budget. Food that costs less than [X]% of my daily income.
Fast service When I need to eat with limited time.. I want food that is served quickly after I’ve ordered. Food is served within [2 minutes] after I order it.

On the highest ranked jobs-to-be-done (remember, jobs should be ranked ordered), McDonald’s is at or near the top. What’s interesting is that the “satisfaction with last visit” score was low for McDonald’s. But it turns out that’s not the most important question. Rather, the question should be, “how satisfied are you with the jobs-to-be-done that matter?”

I’m @bhc3 on Twitter.

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About Hutch Carpenter
Senior Consultant for HYPE Innovation (hypeinnovation.com)

One Response to McDonald’s wins on the fast food jobs-to-be-done that matter

  1. I don’t think this is a surprising outcome at all because you framed the job to be done by labeling the category as “fast food”. If the category was “enjoyable fast food”, or “lunch spots where I can hold a business meeting”, it’s hard to see McDonalds showing up anywhere in the top 10. When I’m in a hurry and want predictable reliability, McDonalds will always be in the top 3 choices, even though I’m not a fan of the food. And, it isn’t just that their operations are run like a factory line, but also that there are so many more of them that I’m likely to find one nearby, which is really important when you’re in a hurry.

    Love this as an example of the importance of the job versus any other product attributes.

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