McDonald's Biggest Customer: Not the Poor, the Middle Class

Quick: who is the typical customer of McDonald's? If you answer "the poor," you'd be wrong.

See, contrary to conventional wisdom, the poor actually don't eat a lot at McDonald's, but people in the middle class do:

Leigh and colleague DaeHwan Kim analyzed 1994-96 data from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals and the accompanying Diet and Health Knowledge Survey. The data included responses from 5,000 Americans who were asked about restaurant dining habits, income, race, gender, age and education.

The researchers found that people visited fast-food restaurants more often as their household income increased — at least up to a point. Fast-food visits rose along with annual income up to $60,000; beyond that, visits started to drop back down, replaced by full-service, sit-down dining at slightly higher prices.

Based on the data, the researchers described the typical fast-food consumer as a lower-middle income head of household, who is budget-conscious and harried and likes the convenience and low price of fast food, compared with other restaurants. Poor people, by contrast, can't easily afford fast-food "value meals," and the poorest, who may rely on the FNS Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, certainly can't use food stamps at McDonald's.


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15 year old data? An irrelevant study, unless you were to say that the study found that "15 years ago, middle class people ate more fast food than poor people." And in that case, who really cares in 2011?
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Not only is this data dated, it assumes that people answering the questions are telling the truth.

Perhaps there is a stigma associated with poor people going to McDonald's? Maybe the inference is that "you are so poor, you can ONLY afford McDonald's"? And then when you get to the "rich", they would be reluctant to admit going to such a "low class" and "unhealthy" eatery (even though they love Big Macs just as much as we do).

So, really, the only people who would be truthful are Middle Class.
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Cooking at home is for working chumps who don't get a bridge card. Poor people with a bridge card can eat frozen fast food all they want, plus sell the other half of their card for 50 cents on the dollar to buy smokes, weed, and gas.
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Yeah, well its the least of my problems. I thought there might be a little humor in missing something like crappy fast food while hitting rock bottom. If you want the entirety of my story it is sad but nobody comes here for that so forget I typed anything.
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I can two words for you: Dollar menu. For $1.08 I can have a sausage mcgriddle in the a.m. For Lunch a mcchick sandwich (with slice of tomato added for .20cents more). Add a large diet coke for $1.00 more that's $2.17 for lunch. I don't do the "Meals" they are too much. I enjoy my comfort food. When broke lots of stress. Hey, but am glad to hear middle class still makes up the most of buyers and to read their reasons why! And those making more than $60k actually eat out more too at sit down places.
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