Restaurant Guide

The Surprising Differences Between McDonald’s And Chipotle Customers

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind enduring long lines and dropping a little extra dough on guac, it turns out that you’re less likely to own a pet fish than someone who likes to get hands-deep in an order of chicken nuggets with a side of greasy fries.

Restaurant Guide

The Surprising Differences Between McDonald’s And Chipotle Customers

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind enduring long lines and dropping a little extra dough on guac, it turns out that you’re less likely to own a pet fish than someone who likes to get hands-deep in an order of chicken nuggets with a side of greasy fries.

You are what you eat. Or, rather, what you eat says more about you than what you might think. Using a tool that pulls data about typical customers of different companies, a new study examined the similarities and differences between McDonald’s and Chipotle customers. The similarities between the two are primarily in their demographics: customers of both chains tend to be females between the ages of 25 and 39 and have a discretionary income of at least $155 a month. Aside from this—and the fact that McDonald’s once owned a 90 percent stake in Chipotle before selling it back in 2006—there doesn’t seem to be much else linking the two types of people.

The major differences between the brands’ customers lie in what they do with their free time, as well as their typical professions. McDonald's customers’ leisurely interests include sleeping, video games, watching movies at home, and—surprise, surprise—“sitting around doing as little as possible." They work in the wholesale and retail industries, consumer goods, and law.

On the other hand, Chipotle customers are a little more, shall we say, “active.” They enjoy sustainability charities, international news, cooking, and going to restaurants. Their top professions are in finance, the travel and hospitality industries, and research development. Rather than keeping fish as pets like McDonald’s customers, Chipotle customers prefer cats. Their political interests are strongly left-leaning, while McDonald’s fans are moderately conservative.

When it comes to describing themselves, McDonald's customers say they’re motherly, loving, and bighearted, while Chipotle loyalists call themselves outgoing, imaginative, and confident. One disclaimer for all of this: The survey was solely based on UK customers — where there are only a couple locations for Chipotle. But we can see how these differences may be true in the U.S. too.