There are two separate questions.
McDonald’s Asks Mystery Shoppers What Ails Sales
Despite all the changes, McDonald’s continues to see a decline in quarterly profit earnings. The new made-to-order cooking system, new menu items, and even the reorganized management don’t seem to have any positive impact on profit earnings. A weakening world economy, increased competition, new generational trends, and the Monopoly-game scandal, among other things, have been cited as possible reasons for the decline.
In order to find a customer-oriented solution, McDonald’s has now hired an army of 150,000 mystery shoppers to evaluate food, cleanliness, and service quality at its more than 14,000 outlets nationwide. These mystery shoppers also collect data on things such as whether employees greeted customers with a smile, whether they offered customers special promotions and larger sizes, and if they filled the order accurately.
The premise behind McDonald’s use of mystery shoppers to boost sales is twofold. First, the current service level at McDonald’s outlets is not up to the mark, and therefore identifying weak spots could help improve customer service. Second, an improvement in service level will have a positive impact on sales. According to an informal survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal, the overall performance score for McDonald’s was about 81.9 percent, compared to an 80 percent average for all restaurants. The scores for three main competitors were 80.1 percent (Burger King), 80.7 percent (Wendy’s), and 77 percent (Taco Bell). Thus, it seems that McDonald’s chain is no worse than its competitors. Second, the link between improvement in ratings and sales increase is also tenuous. According to one McDonald’s franchisee in Texas, who hired its own mystery shoppers and improved its ratings from 80 percent to 92 percent, the “swing in sales” did not follow the improvements.
Does this imply that McDonald’s should not try to track service quality and make changes to improve service? According to a McDonald’s spokesman, mystery shoppers can be very helpful. He says, “If we stay focus on the needs of the customers, the sales will take care of themselves.” Are there any restaurants that score above 90 percent on such ratings? Yes, there are. However, compared to McDonald’s, most such companies are relatively small in size. For McDonald’s to attain such high levels of service across all its stores, it would be a huge challenge.
TALKING IT OVER AND THINKING IT THROUGH!
- In what ways is the use of mystery shoppers advantageous compared to surveys/ interviews?
- What does McDonald’s want to achieve through the use of mystery shoppers?
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Each question should be answered with at least 200 words.