McDonald’s – Consistent Quality Made Health Conscious

In the past few years, McDonald’s has switched their focus to food quality in response to food safety concerns in order to regain customers and reestablish their reputation among the fast food industry. When thinking of McDonald’s, quality food is not the first thing that might come to your mind; however, it has become the company’s goal to emphasize consistent quality and safe sourcing of ingredients.

McDonald’s has exhibited the three principles for achieving high levels of quality and process success set out by the Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy. First, customer satisfaction. McDonald’s changed their processes to focus on quality in response to the demands and concerns of their customers. McDonald’s ambition statement expresses: “Our purpose goes beyond what we sell. We’re using our reach to be a positive force. For our customers. Our people. Our communities. Our world.” McDonald’s focuses on bringing positivity to their customers through quality of food and service.

Next, McDonald’s success in processes can also be attributed to employee involvement. McDonald’s is committed to employee excellence through creating Hamburger University, which focuses on operations training and leadership development for McDonald’s employees. McDonald’s employees also are required to be committed to the quality at the source philosophy. This philosophy describes the need for employees to catch and correct defects in production when they are found. The primary goal set out for employees is to provide top quality to each customer, thus it is crucial for employees to constantly inspect the quality of products being delivered to customers. In order to achieve this goal, McDonald’s also utilizes teams to increase employee involvement. McDonald’s uses teamwork and an assembly-line structure for preparing orders to ensure that customers receive their correct orders in a timely manner.

Lastly, McDonald’s utilizes the idea of continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is the philosophy of continually seeking ways to improve processes. McDonald’s has continually updated and reworked their strategy for Total Quality Management. On the McDonald’s website, under “About Our Food”, McDonald’s acknowledges the changes they have made to increase food quality to ultimately appeal to its customers. Now, the brand is more focused on sustainability and food safety. McDonald’s stands by their commitment to sourcing sustainable ingredients ranging from their beef to their coffee. Additionally, McDonald’s has begun to focus on healthy options through adding more salads to the menu as well as extensivley advertising these changes. In order to appeal to their health-conscious customers, McDonald’s has provided extensive nutrition information to help customers make informed decisions about what they are consuming.

McDonald’s has managed its level of quality provided to their customers through committing to employee involvement and continually improving its processes to ultimately increase customer satisfaction. McDonald’s change in total quality management to focus on food quality has challenged preconceived notions that are present among consumers. A McDonald’s advertisement challenges preconceived ideas about McDonald’s that were prevalent among consumers at the time, in order to depict the changes they made in their processes to increase overall quality for customers.









9 thoughts on “McDonald’s – Consistent Quality Made Health Conscious

  • February 15, 2018 at 8:56 am

    I think McDonald’s TQM has always been solid. They are the largest fast food company in the world, yet they have been able to maintain consistent quality across all of they’re locations. This is no small feat. However, the problem is that people around the country and the world have become more health conscious, and demand better products. For McDonalds this means they need to shift from consistent, to consistently healthy.

    The ability of the corporation to identify this trend, and make the proper changes within its quality management is a great example of a company which adapted to better its product to meet the consumer’s demand. For example, they have adopted new policies and standards for chicken anti-biotics and their beef. As a frequent customer of McDonalds, I am glad to know there is more thought being put into the quality of the food, and I am sure their sales will increase because of this effort.


  • February 15, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Hi Fran –

    I agree with you that when I think of McDonald’s, ‘quality food’ is not what comes to my mind. Almost the opposite, actually. In high school, we had to watch Super Size Me for a wellness course. If you haven’t seen it, it is a documentary about a man who only allows himself to eat McDonald’s for a 30-day time period, to gauge the effects that the food has on his body. I’ll link below a webpage for some background info on the movie. Morgan Spurlock, the man who conducted the documentary in 2004, did so to study why obesity is an issue rapidly spreading through our society today. As you can imagine, this documentary was both disgusting and eye-opening to what damage we are doing to our bodies when we are not consuming nutritious foods. I don’t think I consumed McDonald’s for nearly 3 years afterwards. I would assume that this documentary going viral was one of the ‘wake-up calls’ that McDonald’s needed to address quality management not only for the health of their business but for the well-being of their customers.
    While reading your piece I kept coming back to the idea of how much management has attempted to improve the image surrounding McDonald’s. With their ambition statement, they explicitly state that they want to be a ‘positive force’. To me, this means that they no longer want to be the food that is eaten by obese Americans. I think also, the addition of salads and healthier options to the menu goes a long way. I know for me, personally, even when I see the option of a salad on a menu it makes me consider: “Should I eat something healthier?”, “Do I really need an entire pizza to myself?” It makes us more conscious consumers. In this regard, I am extremely impressed in McDonald’s as a company to really alter themselves from the ground up. I think this initiative has been successful and it shines through in advertisements, in-store, and across the minds of Americans today.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • February 15, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Fran, this is a great topic when it comes to looking at quality and, in this case, the improvement of quality. McDonald’s in the past hasn’t really been known for its quality except for the fact that it is consistent. Consistency is obviously a good thing, and the assembly line style they use helps deliver this consistency, but making sure the product is high quality is becoming and even more important part business. In the past, McDonald’s has been able to get away with being consistent while maintaining very low prices, but as you discussed in the post, their quality is becoming more important because that is what consumer’s want.

    Aside from their increase in food quality, I have personally seen an increase in the overall experience of my visits. With their low wages sometimes it makes it hard to hire the best employees, but many locations have started being renovated into nicer facilities. These nicer facilities have increased visit experience by providing nicer seating areas, improved exteriors, and cleaner bathrooms. The staff on hand also deserves credit here because from what I’ve seen they are the ones responsible for cleaning and making sure everything looks good.

    Quality is important for any business, as I was able to see this summer where I interned. Every employee took pride in keeping the facility as nice as possible to make sure each guest felt welcome. I see McDonald’s doing this same thing, not only with its food, but also with its restaurants.

  • February 14, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    McDonald’s definitely excels at the consistency aspect of quality management. Their international business model and standardized processes allow them to produce almost identical McDonald’s products around the world. The other aspect of quality management, degree of quality, is something that McDonald’s can definitely improve upon. It sounds like they have been making moves towards increasing the quality of their ingredients, as well as making commitments to sustainability. McDonald’s has been heavily advertising these changes in an attempt to change the general public’s perception of their brand. Here is an example of the health-conscious direction McDonald’s is going:

    McDonald’s quality management has always been consistent, but in order to compete in the fast food industry today, they must turn their focus to providing higher quality food to their customers.

  • February 14, 2018 at 11:08 pm


    This is an important topic and you attacked it in a phenomenal way. There is no doubt we are moving toward healthier eating. After studying abroad, I noticed that, in general, we eat a little less healthy than our European counterparts. However, I am hopeful that we are making great strides toward collectively taking in less calories than years past.

    I think that it is great that McDonald’s is moving toward healthier eating as well. However, I think they should take it one step further to ensure they are adapting to the fast food business in a positive direction. As you can see at the bottom of this post, there is a link to an article from Harvard Magazine demonstrating the growing popularity of vegan eating. I am not, in any way, saying that McDonald’s should go completely vegan. However, if they were to develop an extensive and competitive vegan-friendly menu along with their regular menu, they would be set apart from the rest of the regular fast food chains. It is a difficult project, but if I were working for McDonald’s, I would do what it takes to make this happen.


  • February 14, 2018 at 4:31 pm


    I really enjoyed your post! This is such a drastic change for McDonald’s in a variety of ways, just as you pointed out. For seemingly the first time ever, McDonald’s will attempt to market their products as more than just a cheap, quick meal. The McDonald’s ads now are focused on the quantity of food you can buy for such a low price. The following is a link to their $1, $2, $3 menu, that McDonald’s describes as “bold.” This has been successful for the life of McDonald’s because their target market is not worried about the health benefits of crispy, salty fries and a Big Mac with extra sauce. However, with the changes you pointed out, their advertising campaign might head in a different direction, for at least a short period of time.

    Another interesting thing to consider is if there will be negative side effects to their productivity if they decide to make any major changes to the quality of their ingredients. Their line process is down to a science, as well as the storage of the ingredients they use. Changes to the quality of ingredients could require better storage or different handling of the products. However, I think all the points you just made in your post show that McDonald’s will be able to quickly and effectively adjust to any changes. If McDonald’s is firmly committed to TQM and improving their brand, then they will see concrete changes in the satisfaction of their customers and hopefully their bottom line.

  • February 13, 2018 at 10:40 am


    McDonald’s has definitely began to improve their quality of food to society, which is a change from their previous mantra of cheap and affordable food. Kyle brings up a good point about the implications of this change. Will prices increase to the point where they will alienate an entire demographic who enjoyed the cheap and affordable food? Will existing customers appreciate this change? Because Kyle already hit this topic area, I will focus on the improvement of their services.
    Excellent customer service is imperative to a successful business. According to this article, good customer service leads to customer loyalty. Customer loyalty then leads to three benefits: 1) increased revenues due to repeat purchases and referrals, 2) costs decline due to less money spent on customer acquisition, 3) employee retention increases because of job pride and satisfaction increases. Read more about the article here:

    Therefore, Hamburger University is an excellent idea in order to create job pride, increase customer service, and increase efficiency in operations. When I interned with Deloitte this summer, I was sent to Deloitte University, which seems very similar to Hamburger University. At Deloitte University, I really began to understand the culture and expectations of the company. In addition to this, since the company took time and money to invest in my career, it made me excited to be a part of such a great company, increasing my desire to do excellent work. This is one of the main reasons that Deloitte is ranked as one of the top companies year over year, and with Hamburger University, McDonald’s could see similar accolades.

  • February 12, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Francesca, I think you brought to light an important part of McDonald’s operational imperative that is now leaning towards that of a quality driven company as opposed to the past perception of cheap and lacking in the area. It’s funny that you posted this, since I likened Nicholas’ post on CutCo quality to the ongoing operations within McDonald’s. I’d like to share with you and the rest of the class this article from Forbes that discusses McDonald’s eminent change to fresh beef products in 2018.

    McDonald’s is seemingly trying to shift their focus to a trending society focused on health and quality in the fast food that we eat. Here, McDonald’s has been testing fresh beef in select restaurants and states that they will be implementing this item into operations “by the middle of 2018.” I think this is an interesting move on McDonald’s end. One worry is that prices will increase and alienate a segment of McDonald’s consumers that are attracted by low prices for food. Additionally, will the change in food offering be as appealing to existing consumers? One aspect of the McDonald’s style of offering is the consistency in taste and quality. I can personally attest to this; since I can remember, McDonald’s hamburgers and fries have tasted the same. I am now 20 years old and still feel like a child when I eat there. It will be interesting to see where this change will take the company. Thanks for your post!

    • February 14, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Kyle, thanks for your comment! The first aspect of total quality management is customer satisfaction and I think that McDonald’s response to changing consumer preferences which are shifting towards healthier food is spot on. I was not aware that McDonald’s has been taking this new approach and is testing fresh beef burgers in select restaurants in Dallas and will be implementing fresh beef into the majority restaurants in the coming months. The article you posted states that McDonald’s will “serve fresh beef, prepared when ordered by the customer, in all of its Quarter Pounders.” Will all burgers be made with fresh beef or will customers have to select the “fresh beef” option when ordering? In addition, according to McDonald’s website, they have expanded the fresh beef option to more burgers than just the Quarter Pounder. I will be interested to see how this new approach is received by consumers when it reaches all restaurants in the next few months.


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