Macaroni Grill: Ordered Chicken but Got Beef and the Net Promoter Score Survey

Review of: Macaroni Grill Customer Experience
Pete Abilla

Reviewed by:
On July 11, 2012
Last modified:June 27, 2013


Macaroni Grill gave me beef - even though I ordered chicken. And - it was raw. This article explains their response to my concerns, including their use of the Net Promoter Score.

A few weekends ago, my wife and I went to Macaroni Grill for dinner. We had a great server who was funny, helpful, and courteous. After looking at the menu, I decided to order a meal with Chicken – some new summer entree and I don’t remember its name well. But, I was looking forward to trying something new.

Boy, did I get something new and surprising.

Raw Beef or Cooked Chicken?

We finally got our food and in the course of eating, I took a bite of what I thought was a mushroom. But, it turned out to be mostly raw beef. Here’s the picture below:

macaroni grill entree

Getting Beef when I was expecting Chicken was one surprise. But, receiving raw beef was not good because it is a safety issue and is also pretty disgusting.

We told the server, and instead of not charging me for my meal, she gave me and my wife desert for free. All in all, the desert cost $7.00 – which was nice, but not quite correcting the raw beef experience. I didn’t fight it because the server was very nice and we courteously said “thanks”, paid, and then left. But, we didn’t leave with the best of memories or experience.

In the following pages, you’ll see what I mean.

The Net Promoter Score Survey

On my Macaroni Grill receipt, there was a website where I could respond to a survey. So, I did. It turns out it was a Net Promoter Score survey:

macaroni grill dinner for two

So, obviously given my experience, I didn’t rate my Macaroni Grill experience very high. I was certainly not a Promoter and I was certainly not going to recommend that my friends or family go to Macaroni Grill after my experience. So, I rated Macaroni Grill a “0″ – I was a definite Detractor.

Am I a Detractor or a Promoter?

macaroni grill, survey questionnaire

In the text box, I shared about my experience along with my Net Promoter Score. Then I hit submit. If you turn to the next page, you’ll be surprised as much as I was.

And, since I gave a low score, I was considered a Detractor – which is a lexicon in the Net Promoter Score program. By doing so, this was the next dialogue shown to me in the survey, which showed empathy for my negative experience, then promised to share my feedback with the Restaurant Manager of that specific Macaroni Grill:

macaroni grill coupon

What happens next is interesting and I think you’d be surprised as much as I was.

For completing the survey, I received a $5.00 off coupon off my next visit. Which was not happening anytime soon or at all.

I wasn’t planning on visiting Macaroni Grill based on my experience. But, thanks for the Macaroni Grill coupon.

macaroni grill, discount

I have to admit, I was surprised that the Macaroni Grill actually have a detractor outreach program – that was my experience next.

Net Promoter Score Detractor Reach-Out

About 2 days later, I received an email from the Macaroni Grill General Manager for the Murfreesboro, Tennessee area. His email was personal, demonstrated empathy, and committed to make things right with me. I appreciated it. Below is his email.

net promoter score, food industry

It’s been about 1 week now and I haven’t received the $20.00 coupon the general manager promised to send me. But, I give him some credit for reaching out to me.

NPS Lessons Learned

There are several great lessons from my Macaroni Grill experience:

  1. Macaroni Grill provided a way to receive feedback via the survey on the receipt. This is an example of what I call “Continuously Listening” – which is a mark of maturity in the world of customer interaction.
  2. Taking action on that feedback is an example of what I’ve called the Customer Feedback Loop or NPS Feedback Loop.
  3. The Net Promoter Score is a great way to mobilize an organization toward improvement, but the score itself is not where the value lies. The true value of the Net Promoter Score is in the program, NOT the score itself. The heart of the program is the Customer Feedback Loop – listening to customers, then systematically taking action on that feedback to improve the business.

All in all, my entire experience with Macaroni Grill can be best described by this Macaroni Grill Customer Journey Map:

customer journey map, macaroni grill

click to see larger image

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  1. Daniel Lang says

    Absolutely the worst thing for a restaurant is serving raw meat right up there with food poisoning and foul tasting food. You are guaranteed customers who will not return and poor recommendations. I would not bother with a survey.I will let my wallet and mouth do the talking.

  2. James Lawther says

    Pete, I agree. I wonder though what feedback they actually got to improve the situation.

    If you hadn’t filled in the text box they would have had nothing to go on.

    As the old saying goes “weighing the pig doesn’t make it fatter”


  3. Karl Sharicz says

    Outside of the personal letter from the manager, my sense is that their response was fairly pedestrian. I’m not a big fan of chain restaurants in any case, but I feel this could have been handled a lot better. I took ill after eating at a smaller local restaurant in Boston early this year and wrote a letter about that experience where the general manager called me within 2 days of receiving it and followed up by sending me a $200 voucher to come back give them a second chance. That was an impressive response and it did serve to recover the unfortunate situation and I’ve been back there twice since.

  4. Frequent Diner says

    What they should have done, no question about it is to change the dish at no charge. You don’t “find” beef in a chicken dish, it was simply the wrong dish.
    This story has actually little to do with NPS, since there is no score compilation with many customers. The question could have been a customer satisfaction one, with any scale, or even just an open-ended question.

    By the way, the beef in the photo is cooked. Raw beef is red. What’s in the photo is mostly brown, the color of cooked beef. Wrong dish perhaps but the dish you got may have been properly prepared.

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