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Best approach to: How many Kilos of potatoes does McDonalds need per year in the US?

Anonymous A
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replied on 02/20/2018

Hey anonymous,

Start by clarifying for what are potatoes used for. I'm assuming it's only for fries (but don't exactly know the full menu of McDonalds in the US).

I would divide this problem into two components: fries actually consumed by customers + fries that are wasted in the process (as a McDonalds customer I would say this is a really relevant variable for them: everytime they make a mistake with my burger...I always ask for a package of new and warm fries!).

You can estimate the first one by using a top-down approach:

+ Population of the US

+ divide into age groups, assuming a uniform distribution across them

+ get an estimate of the average meal consumption per week and escalate per year for each group (children and teenagers consume more I guess)

+ assume that every meal includes one package of fries (some include more for sure; others none) and weight them (100g per package?!)

On top of it, I would assume there is something like a 2-5% waste rate.



Vlad replied on 02/21/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


Agree with Bruno on the approach,

2 important points:

  1. There is some additional waste while the potatoes are being cut and cleaned (2-3%)
  2. The weight of the cooked potato is definitely lower than the weight of the raw potato. I would assume it's an additional 30-40% weight compared to the fries



replied on 02/25/2018
Former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews in 8 years

Agreed with above methodologies with two addition:

-industrial potato peel waste is more realistically closer to 10-15%

-if you look at this from a supply perspective (e.g. if our client is a potato producer, how many potstoes should they want to make), you need to include a 20% on top of that because of non-confirming potstoes that do not pass the screening before peeling.

hope it helps,


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