From Happy Meals to Happy Customers: McDonalds' Innovative Sentiment Analysis Strategy


Allene Yue

I’m sure at some point, you’ve gone through Yelp, or Trip Advisor, or any other review platform of some sort before committing to a purchase or a visit. I know I do (and I can’t live without them). But what you may not have thought about is how these reviews help that company just as much as they help you as a customer. But how? Sentiment analysis.

Many fast food companies actually use sentiment analysis for identifying popular menu items, finding and improving their weaknesses, or leveraging what they find they’re doing well. And one of these very companies is the one and only McDonalds.

But first, what is sentiment analysis? Sentiment analysis allows a company to collect all their customer feedback in one place and analyze it collectively. In other words, with sentiment analysis, McDonalds would no longer need a team of people to sit at their computers all day to sift through reviews, trying to figure out what they’re doing well and what they should do better. This way, they can utilize all their data on customer feedback, analyze customer sentiment (usually broken down into positive, neutral, negative), and use this data to drive important decisions.

A Sentiment Analysis Case on McDonalds

When’s the last time you read a nasty review? Let’s take a look at one together.

If you just took just one quick glance at this Yelp comment here, you would be able to tell that it’s not exactly a positive review. But McDonalds is a HUGE corporation — they would have thousands upon thousands of comments, feedback, and reviews to go through.  So what do they do? They use sentiment analysis.

A sentiment analysis model would take that review and find keywords like “service,” “facility,” “kitchen,” “food quality,” “ordering,” and “cheap.” Then, it would analyze the context. “Service” is associated with “ok,” which would be categorized as a neutral sentiment. “Facility” is associated with “trashed,” which would be put into the negative sentiment pile. “Ordering” might be associated with “cigarette ash,” which may drag food quality or service into the negative sentiment pile as well.

Now, let’s look at their social media. Here are a few comments on one of their Instagram posts.

Sentiment analysis could be applied the same way here. A sentiment analysis tool might be able to associate “bring back” and “buttermilk sandwich” to tell you that there is positive sentiment around the buttermilk sandwich. And you could do the same thing with the rest of the comments. There would be positive sentiment around the McGriddle, chicken selects, snack wraps, and breakfast bagels.


But you don’t have to be a huge corporation like McDonalds to utilize sentiment analysis, nor do you have to be a fast food chain. Any company can do the same. Especially for all those e-commerce brands out there, you can do more than just analyze your customer reviews and testimonials with sentiment analysis. You can also sift through customer support chats to identify what your customers are complaining about, and what they’re praising you for. And in both cases, you can make well-informed decisions with what you find!

Lucky for you, you’ve stumbled across a company that does just that for you. Many of our customers at Cotera are avid users of our sentiment analysis tool and have found it to be insanely helpful for all their customer management needs. They’ve been able to identify their weaknesses and strengths to improve customer retention down the line. Believe us when we say sentiment analysis is a simple, but very powerful tool in the marketing and retention world.

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