The Most ‘Popular’ McDonald’s Menu Items, Allegedly

Why Google a Big Mac? There might be reasons beyond a fast food craving.

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What’s the most popular item on the McDonald’s menu?” 

When you think about it, that’s not a precise question. Is “most popular” the item that is sold the most? Or rated the highest among consumers? Or purchased most consistently by the same consumers? PriceListo.com, a consumer pricing platform, determined popularity by looking up the McDonald’s menu items that are most searched for by consumers online. Per an email sent to The Takeout, PriceListo used Google search volume data to determine the top five most sought-after menu items in every state.

The most “popular” McDonald’s menu items

Having the most searches doesn’t always translate to a menu item’s actual popularity or sales, but in this case, it might: The search volume data indicates that there were 148,820 searches for ‘Big Mac’ per month across all states, and a spokesperson for PriceListo noted that over 550 million Big Macs are sold each year in the United States.

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Second to the Big Mac in search volume is the Egg McMuffin, which netted 88,520 searches during the same time period. And in third place is the McChicken, with 80,760 searches. But are we all just... Googling the thing we know we’re about to order at McDonald’s? What accounts for all these searches?

Perhaps all these Googlers are curious about the ingredients or calorie content of these sandwiches rather than just Googling because they’re craving that particular item. Or maybe they’re checking for allergens, or whether the sandwich is available at the time of day they wish to order it. Or maybe they’re looking to find the nearest of McDonald’s 13,438 U.S. locations. (I wouldn’t do this by Googling a particular menu item—I’d google “McDonald’s near me”—but to each their own.)

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Or it might not even be something so transactional; some people Google things to learn the history behind them, or to hear a famous jingle. Or to read with fascination about Donald Gorske, the guy who eats at least one Big Mac per day.

Even the McFlurry made an impression on consumers’ browser history, with a search volume of 41,480 across all states per month. The frozen treat also made it into the top five most popular McDonald’s menu items of four states: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. What this might mean, however, is that McFlurry machines are “broken” so often that customers don’t trust they can just drive up and order one—instead, they check Google for intel before leaving the house.

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What Big Mac search volume gets wrong

Whatever this McDonald’s Google search data actually reveals, one thing it makes clear is the power of the iconic Big Mac. Personally, I do not understand the hype; the secret Mac sauce just isn’t all that special. Allow me to open your minds to the true titan of the McDonald’s menu: the Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

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Onions, pickles, and two slices of American cheese on a sesame seed bun. The QPC is satisfying without any extra frills—it doesn’t need them. And if you do want something more attention-grabbing, there’s the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, or the Deluxe, which comes with the addition of lettuce and tomato.

If Big Mac is the face of McDonald’s, then the Quarter Pounder is the overworked staff that keeps the business running. Don’t agree with me? Google it.

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