The Gist: The audiences are unsurprisingly similar, but McDonald’s and Wendy’s fans vary when it comes to demographics, geography, and some everyday behaviors.
While there’s seemingly an endless variety of fast-food options nowadays, McDonald’s and Wendy’s still take up prominent space in the conversation. The two audiences, though alike in many ways, have similar makeups that vary in a few key places.
McDonald’s fandom across generations looks similar, except the always surprising Gen Z. A healthy half of those under 18 have a favorable view of the fast-food giant, making Gen Z the most favorable towards McDonald’s.
In regards to gender, McDonald’s fans are nearly split even. Fans of McDonald’s are slightly more likely to live in the Midwest. West coasters are least likely to be “lovin’ it”–they have the lowest favorability of the fast-food mainstay.
Fans of Wendy’s are slightly more likely to be Gen Z, with nearly no difference in favorability in gender. Wendy’s fans are more likely to reside in the Northeast or Midwest, but fandom peters out heading South or West in the States.
McDonald’s fans are as twice as likely to eat most often at fast-food restaurants. Unsurprisingly, based on McDonald’s menu offerings, they’re twice as likely to eat value menu items, and they’re more likely to order take-out than the general population. They’re less likely to be wine drinkers, to exercise, or read the nutritional information on labels. Somewhat surprisingly, McDonald’s fans are less likely than the general population to drink coffee–sorry McCafe.
Regarding influence, fans of McDonald’s are influenced most by TV ads, but are more likely to choose food items based on their social media feeds. Viral menu items are welcome among McDonald’s fans. However, don’t expect the McDonald’s fans to be early adopters in the food space, they’re less likely to try new foods before others.
Fans of Wendy’s are more likely to eat out for lunch, and like McDonald’s fans are likely to eat value menu items. They are overall less likely to dine at independently owned restaurants, but they dine at a variety of different types of restaurants, most often fast-food and fast-casual locations. They’re less likely to favor dining establishments with healthy menu options.
Media & Entertainment
McDonald’s fans have a lot of fandoms. They’re big sports fans, more likely to be actively following college football and basketball, the MLB, NBA and NFL closely. How do they keep on top of all of it? Might be that they’re more likely to use DVR in comparison to the general population. That is if it’s not already full with other programming–fans of McDonald’s, are also fans of TV sitcoms, dramas, reality TV and travel shows. They’re also more likely to go to the movies at least once a month.
Fans of Wendy’s are nearly as avid sports fans. They follow the NHL, NBA, and MLB, as well as college football and basketball. They also attend sporting events regularly. When it comes to the television they watch, their choices are most likely influenced by social media. Wendy’s fans are also fans of sitcoms, TV dramas, and reality TV.
In regards to technology, fans of McDonald’s aren’t early adopters, but they are interested in tech trends. They own or want to own some of the latest gadgets including VR, smartwatches and home automation products. When it comes to buying electronics, they’re most likely to be influenced to buy over social media.
Wendy’s fans have a similar makeup as McDonald’s fans, but take things further. They’re more likely to be addicted to their digital devices.
Both McDonald’s and Wendy’s fans are active on almost all social media platforms–Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, but notably not Facebook. Both eateries have been known to have meme-able tweets, so it’s not a surprise fans are active on the network.
Wendy’s and McDonald fans aren’t incredibly different from each other, but the small differences are notable. The Wendy’s crowd seems to have a better hold on technology, from digital device addiction to adopting tech at a faster rate than McDonald’s fans. Regarding geography, Wendy’s has a hold over the Northeast that McDonald’s lacks. As compared to other fast-food chains, fans of McDonald’s and Wendy’s aren’t as adventurous eaters–it comes as no surprise as both chains’ menus don’t change as often as say, Taco Bell’s. But both are young, value-seeking eaters with an interest in entertainment and sports.
So, who’s hungry?