The 14 Types Of People Who Dine At McDonald's: Which One Are You?

After decades spent slinging burgers and frying fries, it's probably fair to say that McDonald's has earned the right to be called a "big deal." Even if you're not a huge fan of the Golden Arches, the fact that the company can bring in $19.2 billion in revenue should at least be a little impressive — and that was a bad year for them.

Yes, it really does feel like McDonald's fever isn't slowing down anytime soon. And of course, the driving force behind all that profit-making, as well as the brand's crazy popularity, is the customer base itself. Back in 2011, a McDonald's press release (via Yahoo Finance) estimated that the chain serves nearly 68 million customers each day, and it's easy to imagine that this number has grown since then.

Inevitably, your local McDonald's store is bound to be a veritable melange of characters, a place where all kinds of people — people who otherwise might never have reason to exist in the same room as each other — come together. And although no two people are quite alike, it's also true that most McDonald's customers can be grouped into at least one of these categories. Here are the 14 types of people who dine at McDonald's. The only question is: Which one are you?

The aficionado

It seems only right to start off with the person who clearly loves McDonald's more than anyone else. The aficionado is, in a few words, the chain's number one fan. Don't go thinking that an occasional hankering for a Big Mac or a working knowledge of the menu will admit you to this exclusive club because the aficionado is more hardcore in their love of McDonald's than you can possibly imagine.

In 2015, McDonald's India posted a short blog post detailing the five signs that you're a die-hard McDonald's fan, featuring such points as "it is the first thought that comes to your head in the morning" and "you run through all the McDonald ads with a fine comb and picture yourself in all of them." Does that sound like the sort of behavior that would be better discussed with a therapist? To you, maybe. To them, that's life.

Nothing in particular makes this person stand out in your average store, but there is one easy way to identify them: return six hours later. Trust us, they'll be there. They'll probably be there the next day, too, and maybe the day after, too. And if, by the third day, you're looking around for cameras and wondering if this person is filming a follow-up to "Super Size Me," it's probably safe to say you've found yourself an aficionado.

What they're ordering: One of McDonald's seasonal or limited-time menu options. Gotta keep things fresh when you're living under the arches.

The party animal

There are a number of ways in which one might identify the party animal in the McDonald's wilderness. Firstly, they will be in a state of partial undress, having thrown off their clingier articles of clothing hours — or days, if they're really going for it — earlier. Secondly, they will probably be a part of a group. This group (herd?) will be variable in size and invariable in volume. Thirdly, they will, at some point, attempt to bring the atmosphere of the party they have just left into the restaurant. Expect copious amounts of dancing, laughter, and arguing.

Although the party animal might seem good for a laugh at first glance, it's worth remembering that these people are the reason some McDonald's stores have bouncers. If approached by a straggler who has strayed from the herd, you will face a choice: join them or rebuff them. If you rebuff them, you risk angering them and forcing a confrontation, but if you join them, you will almost certainly end up injuring yourself while attempting a keg stand at a stranger's house party four hours later. Our advice? Stop going to McDonald's at 1 a.m. and avoid the problem altogether.

Of course, if you happen to actually be the party animal, well — shine on, you crazy diamond. And please try to drink some water.

What they're ordering: A box of 20 McNuggets and, ambitiously, a crate of beer (from elsewhere, of course).

The walking hangover

As you might have guessed, this is the next stage in the life cycle of the party animal. Having been dragged by their headache into the waking world sometime during the early afternoon, the walking hangover (plus any survivors from the previous night's herd) will suddenly concoct the best and only idea they will have all day: Grab some McDonald's.

Fifteen minutes later, and the walking hangover has decided that going to McDonald's was actually the worst and only idea ever. The streets are too noisy, the crowds are too packed, and there's a massive orb of fire in the sky that just won't shut off, no matter how much they swear at it. Nevertheless, they carry on. Their reward? A brief window of pure bliss that exists for only as long as it takes to shovel down their meal. And sure, the pain will inevitably wash back over them in a few moments' time — but, good God, was it worth it.

Sadly, the walking hangover is a rarer sight at McDonald's these days, largely thanks to the chain's expansion into home delivery. After all, why crawl through hell for your food when you can have someone bring it to your bedside?

What they're ordering: Big Mac, large fries, coffee. This will be the only time that combination ever makes sense.

The collector

The Happy Meal has been a McDonald's stalwart since 1979. Back then, this kid-friendly menu item would have contained a McDoodler stencil, puzzle lock, McWrist Wallet, ID bracelet, spinning top, or a McDonaldland-themed eraser. Since then, Happy Meals have seen countless different toys come and go, most of which are nowadays themed to tie in with the release of a popular kids' movie. While children are clearly the target audience for Happy Meal toys, they're not the only audience. Enter the collector.

One of your rarer sights at McDonald's, the collector isn't there for the food. In fact, they might as well have thrown their burger and fries in the trash the moment they're given it. No, the target here is the toy. Back at home, the collector has a shelf, a cabinet, or an entire room dedicated to their hobby, where Jedi and Muppets and Hot Wheels and Barbie dolls can live together in beautiful harmony. That collection is always growing, too, as the collector will be straight into their local McD's the moment the latest promotion hits stores. And can you blame them, considering some vintage Happy Meal toys can sell for hundreds of dollars?

What they're ordering: A Happy Meal, of course. What else?

The vegan

Not too long ago, a vegan's life choices would have been met by mockery and derision from people who don't understand (or refuse to understand) why they avoid meat and dairy. These days, however, veganism is becoming more and more popular, with Google Trends data in 2020 suggesting that the public's interest in the lifestyle is at an all-time high.

Sadly, McDonald's took a long time to catch up, having only introduced the McPlant in 2021. Better late than never, though, and with this new menu item comes a new kind of McDonald's customer. The vegan could either be a flexitarian or occasional meat-eater who's just trying to do a little good or a full-blown practitioner cautiously stepping into McD's for the first time in years. The former is far more common than the latter, however, considering strict vegans are likely to take issue with eating at a restaurant notorious for its mistreatment of animals — no how many vegan options it offers.

What they're ordering: The McPlant, for sure, but whether they get fries with that will depend on where they live.

The early bird

A wise man once said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Or maybe it was a marketing gimmick. Either way, nothing starts the day off right quite like a truly hearty breakfast — you know, the kind of thing you see in movies, with a massive spread of bacon and sausages and toast and cereal and pancakes and yogurt and everything else you could possibly dream of. Massive spreads take time to make, though, and the early bird is in a rush.

This McDonald's customer only exists inside the store between the crack of dawn and 10:30 a.m. when the breakfast menu usually ends. They might be wearing a suit or they might not be, but they'll definitely be walking that delicate line between half-asleep and crazy-stressed. Don't expect to see them for long, either, because as soon as they've got their order in hand, they'll be out the door, ready to fight their day with naught but a gallon of chutzpah and an Egg McMuffin. Godspeed, early bird. Godspeed.

What they're ordering: The breakfast menu is vast indeed, but any combination of these items will keep the early bird happy. Until lunch, that is.

The teen

Like the party animal, the teen usually moves as part of a herd, although "pack" might be the better word here. While most McDonald's customers are driven through the doors by hunger, the teen is led by boredom — a fast food restaurant merely gives them somewhere to hang out unsupervised.

We'd like to be able to tell you how to recognize a teen by their behavior, but let's not pretend that anybody knows how that works. Instead, you can spot the McDonald's teen by their irritating propensity towards youthfulness, their apparent lack of care about what anyone thinks of them (we know the truth, though), and their total disdain for sincerity. You'll most commonly see them loitering outside or crowding around one particular corner inside the restaurant itself.

What they're ordering: Nothing, usually, which begs the question as to what they're doing at the restaurant in the first place.

The foodie

The foodie isn't hard to spot — just look for the person who clearly doesn't want to be there. Having most likely been dragged into McDonald's by somebody else, the foodie will spend their entire time inside the restaurant totally misjudging what McDonald's is supposed to be. They'll spend far too long trying to delicately balance each dish's flavor profile, they'll turn their nose up at the idea of even going near processed cheese, and they'll demand a palate cleanser afterwards. Think of them this way: This is the kind of person the Arch Deluxe was made for.

Don't hate them too much, though. The foodie just wants good food made fresh with local ingredients, and you can hardly blame them for getting uppity about having to settle for a McChicken.

What they're ordering: Steak au poivre, rosemary potatoes, and seasonal vegetables — at a totally different restaurant, half an hour later.

The turncoat

The rivalry between McDonald's and Burger King has existed since the dawn of the ages. It's so intense, in fact, that it has even been described as a "burger war" by some. From menu items to marketing campaigns to fast food innovations, this is a conflict marked by endless back-and-forths and bitter feuds — and it doesn't look like it's letting up anytime soon.

Suitably, most people have a preference between McDonald's and Burger King, and the turncoat almost always goes for the latter. Circumstances aren't always helpful, however, and sometimes a fast food fan who might owe their brand loyalty to the King will find themselves forced to dance with the devil.

You can always tell a turncoat, of course. They'll have a guilty expression practically painted on their face, one that only worsens as they shuffle through the crowds to mistakenly order a "Whopper Mac" once they reach the counter. After finally getting their order right, they'll take it to the nearest table, sit down, open it, pick through it, then throw it in the trash and amble back home like Bruce Banner in that Hulk TV series from the '70s.

What they're ordering: Nothing from here ever again, thank you very much.

The stoner

Oh, yes. We all know this one. Thanks to the staggering explosion in U.S. cannabis sales over the last few years, the once-elusive McDonald's stoner has — in some states — become as common a sight as the party animal or the teen. (Sometimes, of course, it's possible to be all three.)

We shouldn't have to tell you how to spot a stoner in the wild, but hey ho, let's go. If they look like they're about to re-enact a McDonald's version of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, they're a stoner. If they take fifteen seconds to react to their server and another two minutes to make an order, they're a stoner. If they turn to you and spark up a conversation about dark matter, they're very probably a stoner. Don't be afraid, though — unlike the party animal, this type of customer is almost always friendly and docile. Heck, if you're nice enough to them, they'll probably give you a share of that 50-nugget box they just ordered.

What they're ordering: Everything, three times.

The lunch-rusher

The lunch-rusher is essentially the early bird at a different time of day. Temporarily released from the daily grind and with only a good half an hour (or less, for some workers) until they've got to be back, the lunch-rusher hurls themself through the McDonald's experience faster than a speeding bullet. There's a non-zero chance they'll cut in line, and they'll spend most of their time at the counter tapping their foot and muttering under their breath. There's no way in hell they'll hang around, either, and you're more likely to find a lunch-rusher-shaped hole in the wall than one of these people actually sitting down to enjoy their meal. They'll be back, though — either the next morning or a few minutes later when they realize they left their phone by the straws.

What they're ordering: Quarter Pounder with cheese, medium fries, soft drink. No time to mess around.

The parent

Pity the poor parent. To them, McDonald's was once a simple pleasure — a place they could stop by to pick up a quick meal and easily slot into any of the other categories on this list. They may have been an aficionado, a party animal, even a collector. Now, though, they have but one purpose: to shepherd their spawn from one vortex of chaos to the next.

McDonald's reportedly serves over a billion Happy Meals every year, and if you assume that at least a significant majority of those are served to children, then you can reasonably argue that a whole lot of kids are eating at Ronald McDonald's house. And behind every child is a frazzled, exhausted parent — somebody who, let's be honest, was probably bullied by those kids into going to McDonald's in the first place. Farewell, simple pleasure. Hello, desperate appeasement.

No need for an identification guide, here, of course. You can spot the parents by their children, and you can tell the children are coming from a hundred miles away. So much for "seen and not heard," eh?

What they're ordering: Three Happy Meals and a strong black coffee.

The driver

This is probably the only customer archetype who you won't actually see inside McDonald's because they'll be hurrying through the drive-thru instead. Don't be deceived, though, because market research has suggested that some 50 to 70% of U.S. McDonald's sales take place in the drive-thru.

The fun thing about the driver is that they can be pretty much any other type of customer, too. Driver-aficionados must surely exist, and driver-parents are hardly going to be rare, either. You can be a driver-vegan, a driver-foodie, a driver-turncoat (helps with the shame) — basically anything other than a driver-party animal or a driver-stoner, because ... well, you know. But a friend can always help them get through the vehicle cue.

Oh, and they're easy to spot, too, because they drive around in massive hunks of steel. Quite an easy one, this.

What they're ordering: Literally anything, as long as they get to eat it in the parking lot.

The sugar freak

The sugar freak comes to McDonald's for one thing and one thing only: dessert. These days, the chain offers all kinds of different sweet treats, with the menu shifting constantly to accommodate new arrivals and innovations. There are staples, of course, such as the baked apple pie, the shakes, or the hot sundaes. But what keeps the sugar freak coming back is the chance to try out new desserts, such as the Chips Ahoy McFlurry or the glazed donut.

This type of customer is essentially harmless, and there's no real way to tell one until you actually see them get their food. There is one exception, however: the young sugar freak. It's all well and good when this archetype is old enough to handle a sugar rush, but if they're dragging a parent behind them, then watch out ... because things are about to get very, very messy.

What they're ordering: A hot fudge glazed Oreo Skittles McFlurry pie, or whatever Frankenstein-esque concoction McDonald's have decided to introduce to their dessert menu this month.