The Power of a Loyal Customer Base

McDonald’s Strong Performance Supported by a Large and Frequent Base of Loyal Customers

The Power of a Loyal Customer BaseLast week McDonald’s announced another strong sales performance for US stores in the 4th quarter. This marks a year where McDonald’s posted healthy same store sales growth consistently throughout the year while the competition struggled. At the heart of their success was a loyal customer base. Thirty percent of the US population is a loyal McDonald’s customer. Loyal McDonald’s customers go to McDonald’s for lunch/dinner more than 30 times a year… three times the rate of the non-loyal customer.

While customer satisfaction results (U. Mich.: ACSI) and best burger ratings (Consumer Reports) might lead you to believe that McDonald’s is not faring well with consumers, in a new study of over 15,000 consumers by QSRdna , McDonald’s loyalty metrics outperformed all of the top 50 chains by a wide margin. At the lunch & dinner day-parts, McDonald’s loyal customers accounted for over 78% of their lunch/dinner customer traffic. By comparison, the next group of chains were over 20 points lower, while the average for the top 50 chains was 41%.

McDonald’s Strong Performance Supported by a Large and Frequent Base of Loyal CustomersA strong base of loyal customers provided McDonald’s with a resilient customer base that stayed with them during rough economic conditions. With such a large and frequent loyal customer base, McDonald’s is always an option. McDonald’s may not be capturing the heart and soul of customers but they have captured their mind and body as those bodies are going to McDonald’s as often or more often than any other restaurant. These loyalty metrics are extremely strong… but then again, so are McDonald’s financials.

QSRdna Founders

Dave Jenkins—Former GM of NPD’s Foodservice Business Unit: 25+ years industry experience

Paul Weaver—IRI /Nielsen: 25+ years of consumer research / customer loyalty experience

Rich Maturo – 25+ year veteran of consumer insights product innovation and service develop-ment for leading research com-panies (Nielsen, IRI, and The NPD Group)

About QSRdna

QSRdna is a consumer study fielded in the fall 2010 and is based on a national sample of more than 15,000 respondents covering 75+ chains and more than 2000 specific chain menu items. This study focuses on the customer to dig into and understand their loyalties, purchase cycles, visit patterns and menu preferences at the top 75 QSR chains. QSRdna is a product of CustomersDNA, LLC, a marketing and research consulting practice.


Dave Jenkins