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Even Dissatisfied McDonald's Customers Are Likely To Return, Fast Food Survey Says

01/18/2013 03:53 pm ET

According to a new survey, loyal customers of McDonald's may often be dissatisfied with the fast food behemoth, but that doesn't stop them from going back for more.

The survey, conducted by market research company Consumer Edge Insight, revealed that though only 22 percent of McDonald's customers said that they were "extremely satisfied" by their last visit to the fast food eatery (by far the "lowest score in the survey," according to the Consumerist), McDonald's still enjoyed one of the highest "Intent to Visit Again" scores, with 64 percent of visitors saying that they are "extremely likely" to visit again.

According to a news release, only people who had visited the chain at least once in the last three months were asked these questions.

Of the 20 fast food chains on the survey, Chick-fil-A had the highest satisfaction score (66 percent), while Long John Silver's (56 percent) and Whataburger (54 percent) took second and third place, respectively. Subway (68 percent) and Chick-fil-A (67 percent) topped the "Intent to Visit Again" list. McDonald's ranked third.

This isn't the first time the waning level of customer satisfaction with the Golden Arches has been cast into the spotlight.

Last year, when Zagat released its Fast Food Survey results, it was immediately clear that McDonald's had fallen in the ranks. Though the chain clinched the title of "Best French Fries," it failed to make the top five "Best Burger" list.

Also last year, data collected by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index revealed that McDonald's ranked in last place in customer satisfaction. McDonald's was also named one of the "worst" fast food restaurants in the United States by Esquire's 2012 Chef Survey.

Baffled as to why customers who aren't typically satisfied with McDonald's keep going back for more? "The answer may lie in the other categories of [the Consumer Edge Insight] survey," Consumerist explains.

"Respondents put McDonald’s first in perceived value, convenient locations, and fast service. So customers will put up with food that doesn’t knock their socks off if they can get it easily, affordably and quickly," the website writes.

David Decker, president of Consumer Edge Insight, concurred.

“For quick-service restaurant patrons the most important factors that drive loyalty to a brand are good value and convenience, with low prices and quick-service being very important as well,” he said. “McDonald’s has a clear image lead on all of these factors… [Its] high repeat-purchase intention scores despite their lower satisfaction scores illustrates the strength of their brand on the attributes that matter most to quick-service customers.”

According to the survey, "great-tasting food is only the 8th most important factor in driving [customer] loyalty" to fast food chains.

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