This week McDonald’s announced that January 4th they will be launching their new tiered Dollar Menu. The industry is wondering if this is McDonald’s declaration that they are ready to fight a price war. Sense360 believes that this is actually a smart decision driven by a core understanding of who McDonald’s customers truly are and how to win their business.

Sense360, a leading restaurant insights firm, created 10 distinct QSR personas based on over 3 billion behavioral visits and over 50,000 surveys, and found that two of the most budget-conscious personas constitute 45% of McDonald’s total visits. These two personas (Active on a Budget & Blue Collar Value Seekers) make up 32% of all QSR and Fast Casual industry visits and just 22% of the general population. The brand behind the Golden Arches clearly understands who is coming through the doors, what motivates those visits, and is clearly catering to them. The new Dollar Menu is more than simply responding to a price war, but more so a clear move to optimize the brand’s menu to attract the customers that frequently file in line and bring the brand it’s revenue.

McDonald’s competitors should be worried if McDonald’s revamped Dollar Menu continues the trend started with the $1 soda and the McPick 2 for $5 value-oriented promotions they ran in 2017, which helped them drive significant growth through all of 2017 and win more market share. This increase in market share can be attributed to the increase in the national market share of the budget personas – Active on a Budget (25%) & Blue Collar Value Seeker (21%).

Within McDonald’s total visits, the other personas stayed generally flat. This reinforces the fact that the value-focused personas were the ones that drove much of the business’s success this past year.


For the first part of 2018, McDonald’s is making sure to keep their core customer satisfied, zero in on the customer personas that are fueling their growth, and to continue to take share from competitors.