Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and Subway Are CX Leaders in Fast Food

This post examines the 17 fast food chains included in the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings.

Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and Subway earned the top customer experience ratings in the industry and are tied for third spot across all 206 companies. The three leading fast food chains are the only ones in the industry to earn “excellent” customer experience ratings. Eleven of the 17 fast food chains earned “good” ratings while the bottom three—Hardees, Domino’s, and Jack in the Box—earned “okay” ratings.

The overall fast food industry earned the second spot out of 18 industries, slightly behind grocery chains but well ahead of other industries.

Other highlights from the research include:

  • Starbucks and Subway received the highest Functional ratings while Domino’s and Jack in the Box received the lowest.
  • Subway received the highest Accessible ratings while Hardees and Jack in the Box received the lowest.
  • Chick-fil-A and Starbucks received the highest Emotional ratings while Hardees received the lowest.

Do you want to see the data? Go to the Temkin Ratings website where you can sort through all of the results for free. You can even purchase the underlying data if you want to get more access.

The bottom line: Most fast food chains deliver solid CX

Lessons From Dunkin’ Donuts Chief

I’ve been pretty impressed with the pace of innovation at Dunkin’ Donuts over the last few years. A few years ago the firm spotted demand for Starbucks’ new Frappuccinos and came out quickly with its own drink, Coolattas. Dunkin’ recently expanded its menu to include smoothies, flat bread sandwiches, and pizzas that draw in the post-breakfast crowd.

So I was interested in reading an article about what the Dunkin Brands CEO, Jon Luther, had to say to the Entrepreneur Organization in Boston.

Luther transformed Dunkin’s stagnant brand by focusing on the organization’s culture and a refined view of it’s target customers.

The CEO developed a company-wide value system based on honesty, integrity and humility. And he took a pretty aggressive stance in making sure that it was adopted. As he said: 

Workers who couldn’t or wouldn’t ascribe to those values left the company. The ones who remained, shared a common value system.

The company then focused its efforts on its core customers that consumer research showed were a no-frills bunch that love routine, and are proud of their busy schedules.

The bottom line: Dunkin combined the ingredients for transformation: culture + customers + innovation.

The 10 Most Overrated Brands?

I just ran across a slide show on Boston.com called Lucas Conley’s 10 most overrated brands. Conley, who just wrote a book called OBD (Obsessive Brand Disorder), points to these 10 “tired” brands:

  • Southwest Airlines (The airline’s issue with safety inspections and its subsequent reaction has tarnished it’s fun-loving image).
  • The Gap (After trying a myriad of media tricks to get attention and 15 quarters of declining sales drops, the retailer has suspended TV ads).
  • The Los Angeles Lakers (Unlike the “Showtime” brand of the past, the Lakers couldn’t even keep the attention of their own fans)
  • Oprah (“Oprah’s Big Give” TV show was an instant flop and one of the many recent stumbles for the overexposed media queen). 
  • MTV (No more full-length videos, and the station’s programming now amounts to reductive reality crossovers and tasteless dating shows).
  • Dunkin’ Donuts (The new owners pushed DD coffee into stores and supermarkets while touting Rachel Ray and dismantling of the firm’s original neon sign).
  • Victoria’s Secret (Since 2004, when the company hired unsexy folk legend Bob Dylan to appear in ads, Victoria’s Secret has been groping in the dark)
  • Apple (In an age when no-name companies make phones of equal quality at a fraction of the price of an iPhone, how long can Apple keep sales and its cool factor up?)
  • Trump (Trump has become a trinket tycoon, feverishly trading in on his name to peddle a bazaar’s worth of crap… like Trump water and Trump cologne). 
  • The Everybrand (I didn’t quite get what he was saying about this one)

My take: I agree with many, but not all, of the brands on the list…

  • I agree with these being on the list:
    • Trump (enough of him already), Oprah (she’s overplayed, but give her snaps for doing some good things for society), Victoria’s Secret (it can’t quite get sexy right), Los Angelas Lakers (go Celtics!), The Gap (it’s down now, but I’m hopeful for a comeback), and MTV (I can’t take any more reality).
  • I disagree with these being on the list:
    • Apple (it’s coolness still has some staying power); Southwest Airlines (it can recover from the recent snafu) and Dunkin’ Donuts (okay, I just like Rachel Ray).

The bottom line: Your brand is a terrible thing to waste.