If you imagine the average McDonald’s customer, who do you think of, and what kind of food are they buying? Using insight from data analytics company Numerator, Insider has ascertained that the average McDonald’s customer is a married white woman who lives in the Southeast and is between 41 and 56 years old. Was that what you were picturing? (My mind was blank.)
This hypothetical woman, let’s call her Imaginary Sue, also comes from a suburban area, has a household income of over $80,000 a year, and likely has some college education, if not an undergraduate degree. Imaginary Sue also really likes breakfast: it comprises nearly half of the orders she’ll place during her 44 annual visits to McDonald’s.
Imaginary Sue’s breakfast food preferences involve sausage breakfast sandwiches and hash browns, while her daytime picks are typically crispy chicken sandwiches (we have opinions), french fries, and a soda. Her average trip will cost $8.35, rounding out to three items per meal. I’m actually surprised by the chicken thing. My immediate mental image of McDonald’s is usually of Big Macs and Quarter Pounders—generally anything with beef—over chicken. I guess maybe things have changed amid the fast food chicken sandwich wars.
But one can’t survive on McMuffins alone, and Imaginary Sue likes her fast food whether it comes from McDonald’s or not. She’ll be making 149 trips to fast food restaurants in one year, with about one-third of those being McDonald’s trips. Across those visits overall, her average spend on a meal will be $11.99. (And keep in mind, these are averages, meaning that some people are grabbing fast food far less often than this, while others are purchasing way more.)
Insider also took a look at the average Walmart shopper, who is actually similar in profile to the average McDonald’s customer, with just a slight difference in age. Let’s call her Imaginary Anne. She’s a white woman who’s between 55 and 64 years old, married, and living in the Southeast as well. She also has an undergraduate degree and earns around $80,000 a year. Maybe Anne and Sue are friends. If not, at least neighbors. I can imagine a whole backstory between the two of them, one that involves the various goings-on of their subdivision. My Emmy-award-winning TV show about their lives will be called Average People and will be filmed entirely on McDonald’s dedicated sound stage.