A leaked internal document from McDonald’s has shown that the burger behemoth is losing millions of dollars in sales every year because of rude employees.

With sales already under pressure from mad cow fears and concerns about growing levels of obesity, the fastfood firm has established plans for “customer recovery teams” in a bid to coax those offended by rude staff back to their Big Macs.

The document, which was posted on an in-house website and obtained by Dow Jones Newswires, reveals that “on any given day, 11% of McDonald’s customers are dissatisfied with their visit and take the time to share their complaint with the restaurant.”

“Most customers who have complaints do not share it with the restaurants – they just don’t come back,” added the document.

It seems that many of Maccie D’s staff members are forgetting the “We love to see you smile” mantra and serving up unhappy meal experiences.

Slow service is a major source of irritation amongst British consumers, and elsewhere customers were concerned about the lack of cleanliness of outlets. Some 70% of complainants were meanwhile stressed about the way their issues were handled.

The figures indicated that around 1% of all complaints were made by “scammers” who were hoping for a free meal.

The problems are most likely to be down to McDonald’s’ tendency to hire young and inexperienced workers for a low wage – but is this policy a false economy? Delegates at a conference, held at the company’s ‘Hamburger University’ near Chicago last month, were told that rude employees were costing US$750m a year in lost sales. This means that every US outlet could be losing up to an average of US$60,000 in sales every year.

In a bid to better the burger experience of consumers, McDonald’s has launched two ‘customer recovery teams’. It is still not clear exactly what these teams will do, but they form part of an ambitious domestic target of doubling sales at the company within the next decade.

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