McDonald’s International Service Standards

This is a true story showcasing how a brand has to decide on the value of each of its customer segments and invest accordingly. If you want to give the impression of an international corporation serious about its tourist and business traveler segments, invest in foreign language menus and train staff to speak English.

So. Here’s the scenario.

I thought there used to be a 2-minute service standard (plus a smile) at international McDonald’s, but I was proven wrong this morning.

I landed in Korea at 4:49am this morning and was craving breakfast. I saw a familiar logo, and had a craving for a savory McMuffin. I lined up and noticed the menu didn’t have full English translations on it so I guessed at some of the items. When I reached the counter I asked the cashier what the third item was. Blank look. Ask again making gestures. Another 5-second blank look. I give up and order a sausage McMuffin McMorning combo.

I asked if I could switch my coffee for orange juice. Met with a side wave and a quick no. I thought: “ok understand that I shouldn’t change a combo.”

Since I don’t drink coffee (I am allergic and get migraines from drinking it), I asked for a glass of water.

This request was met with a “no water”, a bigger side wave and an annoyed look.

Who wants to guess whether I’ll ever go back to McDonald’s? Service was definitely below par compared to service in North America. Hopefully McDonald’s finds the tourist/foreigner market important enough in Korea to make the necessary training improvements. Even then it’ll take me a while to consider trying it again.

Remember – we tell 100 people about a negative experience and only 10 about a positive one. Your staff is an extension of your brand, that’s why it’s so important to ensure they are ALWAYS on their best behavior.