Consumer Buying Behaviour: McDonald's

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This paper analyzes consumer behavior while purchasing items at McDonald's. Some

of the criteria covered in the paper includes: influences on the customer, customer

mannerism while ordering, what items they purchased and interactions with McDonald's


My Experience

When doing this project I went to the McDonald's closest to my house. I went

inside and ordered off the dollar menu, my order consisted of a 64oz. Sprite that is

currently on sale for 69 cents, and a crispy chicken sandwich. I knew going into the

restaurant that these were items that McDonald's carried. I had seen the advertisement

about the drink on T.V. and on signs the restaurants display exteriorly, and have always

purchased chicken sandwiches from this restaurant. Going into the restaurant I was

greeted by the cashier whom asked: "Welcome to McDonald's, how may I help you?" I

replied back by saying "hi" and proceeded with my order. I ordered the crispy chicken

sandwich with no tomatoes and the 64oz. Sprite. It took me about 73 seconds to get my

food. While eating, I sat down and monitored other consumers purchasing food. Here is

what I saw.

Consumer's purchasing techniques and mannerism

I would say 75% of everyone who went inside was accompanied with someone. I

have a feeling that amount would be much lower if I was observing the drive-thru lane.

Almost 80% of everyone accompanied asked their companion what they were getting to

eat before actually purchasing anything. It seemed to me most girls that were

accompanied with a male whether it would have been boyfriend or husband, purchased a

salad. I believe that the girls were trying to show their companion that they were

eating healthy.

I estimated only 5% of the people I watched knew exactly what they wanted without

looking at the menu. About 40% of the people stood back away from the counter about 4

feet while looking at the menu even though they were next in line. Roughly 20% of all

people started with the work "um" before saying what they actually wanted to eat. Many

people put their hands in different places while they were ordering. The most common

was putting their hands on the counter. Also, placing hands in pocket which may be

attributed to reaching for their money. Another, was that people would point to the menu

when they said their order.


Many customers asked questions as you probably assumed. The biggest question was:

what's on the blank? Blank means the type of sandwich being asked about. I estimated

that 55% of all people that asked about the condiments on the sandwich requested a

special order when purchasing it. Another big question that I heard was about substitution

of an item, whether it was a milk shake in replace of the soda or a salad in replace of

fries, this only applies to value meals.

Typical Customer

Since McDonald's has been around so long many people know their menu by heart. I

am one of those people. I can tell what sandwich comes with certain value meals. For

example the #7 is a crispy chicken sandwich, which comes with a medium fry and drink.

I would say a "typical customer" would be one that maybe spends about 30 to 40 seconds

looking at the menu, and then proceeds to order. This is opposite of ordering food at a

nice sit-down restaurant, where it may take you 5-10 minutes to look at your options.

Those who have been to McDonald's a million times and like me have the menu already

mapped out in their head as they're driving there, can walk right up and order. People that

don't go to McDonald's very often, are either more tight with there money or are healthy

eaters, and would require more time looking at the menu. Kids are probably the easiest

to buy for, the kid knows he wants a Happy Meal® but has to decide on either a

hamburger, cheeseburger or McNuggets. Normally kids either like cheese on...
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