McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s Customers Most Unhappy with Their Health, According to BIGinsight™ Analysis

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A recent analysis of fast food patrons reveals that McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s customers are the most unhappy with their health. Fast food frequenters’ wellbeing, however, appears to be tied to lifestyle rather than their fast food chain of choice. The analysis includes insights from the February 2012 Monthly Consumer Survey from BIGinsight™ which was conducted 2/1 – 2/8/12, N=8,716. Margin of error is +/- 1.1%.

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Fast Food Frequenters’ Wellbeing Tied to Personal Behavior Rather than Drive-Thru of Choice

1 in 5 (21.4%) Americans are unhappy with their health, according to a recent BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey (FEB-12, N = 8716). Although fast food purveyors are adding healthier options to their menu, quick service cuisine remains a constant in the battle of the bulge. According to the analysis of select fast food restaurant customers*, McDonald’s patrons are the unhappiest** with their health (24% unhappy/totally unhappy), followed by Taco Bell (22.7%), Wendy’s (22.1%) and Burger King (21.5%). Customers of these restaurants tend to have a more negative opinion of their own physical condition versus the general population.

Unhappiness Index (Among Select Fast Food Customers)
(Customers who are unhappy/ very unhappy versus the general adult population)

McDonald's: 112.24
Taco Bell: 106.03
Wendy's: 103.46
Burger King: 100.76
KFC: 96.96
Subway: 90.52
Chick fil A: 73.69
Arby's: 71.30

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – FEB-12 (N = 8716, 2/1 – 2/8/12)

  • McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Burger King, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Arby’s, and KFC customers were analyzed for this release. “Customers” are defined as those who eat most often at a given fast food restaurant (an unaided, write-in response).

** Respondents were posed with this question: On a scale of 1-5 with 1 being “Totally Unhappy,” and 5 being “Totally Happy,” how would you rate your happiness level with your Health?

For complimentary report "Health, Happiness & Fast Food," click here.

On the other hand, Chick-fil-A diners report being the happiest with their health of those analyzed (58.9% happy/totally happy), followed by Subway and Arby’s customers at 57.1% and 56.6%, respectively. This is compared to over half of Americans (53.9%) who feel the same.

“Given that Chick-fil-A, Subway and Arby’s all offer menu items with a calorific punch, it’s apparent that Americans’ overall personal health perceptions aren’t specific to their fast food chain of choice,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director, BIGinsight™. “We’ve found that it boils down to their health habits, including exercising regularly and watching fat and calorie intake.”

Subway patrons are the most likely to exercise on a regular basis (49.1%), while McDonald’s customers are the least likely of the group (34.8%). As a point of reference, 34.3% of Adults 18+ say they exercise regularly.

Exercise Regularly (Among Select Fast Food Customers)

Subway: 49.1%
Chick fil A: 46.0%
Arby's: 43.2%
Taco Bell: 40.3%
Wendy's: 40.2%
Burger King: 36.0%
KFC: 35.4%
McDonald's: 34.8%

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – FEB-12 (N = 8716, 2/1 – 2/8/12)

About three in ten McDonald’s customers say they don’t do anything with regard to their health (such as exercising; watching calories, carbs, salt or fat intake; buying organic; etc.) Burger King connoisseurs aren’t far behind with this sentiment.

About BIGinsight™
BIGinsight delivers executives timely, consumer-centric insights from multiple sources. As a comprehensive resource of information, BIGinsight represents the voice of the consumer and provides knowledge to marketers regarding consumer views on the economy, personal finance, retail, lifestyle, media and domestic and world issues.

Pam Goodfellow
Chrissy Wissinger
chrissy (at) biginsight (dot)com

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