McDonald's and the Art of Customer Happiness

I ordered in from McDonald's last night. FYI, I hadn't eaten anything from there in years until yesterday. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed it! No, it wasn't a Happy Meal, but, by the end of it, I was actually happy.

OKAY. I see the way you're judging me right now. Even the most devout health diet evangelist has his/her cheat days and I am far from being a religious proponent of anything. So yeah, I ordered in from McDonald's last night. And I was happy.

It didn't taste particularly exceptional or different. It was just a regular meal with a burger, a side of fries and a glass of cola. It tasted like the same old McDonald's that used to be an occasional indulgence during my days at university. I'm sure McDonald's is proud of its dogmatic adherence to consistency, if anything. But it wasn't that vampire-like undying standard of taste or product that got to me yesterday.

I mean, I was a little impressed by how their packaging had nearly zero plastic - it was mostly paper with just two small bits of cellophane tape and a narrow strip of clear film. As much as my inner capitalist hipster was stirred to wax lyrical about how a big corporation's heart is in the right place, even this was just a value add for me and not the core contributor to my happiness.

Now I'm not the most frequent connoisseur of take-away/home delivered restaurant fare, but I'm no food prude either. Ordering from a burger joint is all the more satisfying when there's a side of chips and a soda pop thrown in. But, from my past experience, the drink that comes with a burger is just an afterthought. It's usually a small bottle or can of mildly chilled soda, and, when packed with a steaming burger, it becomes a tepid swig of flavoured water.

The burger I ordered, however, came with a side of crisp fries and a glass of really cold Coke - which had a generous scoop of ice cubes in it. Ice! Like, who does that? I enjoyed my food with a cold, fizzy beverage right out of the box. It just surprised me that a huge corporation like McDonald's could pay that much attention to such a tiny bit of detail. The burger wasn't the hero - neither was it the fries or the cola. The customer experience was. Or rather, customer happiness was.

I may not buy a McDonald's burger everyday - but they definitely are at the top of my mind when I'm craving some fast food. All because of a few cubes of ice. That's probably why they're still around and thriving. No fancy growth hack or marketing genius. Just good old happy customers! Lesson learnt.