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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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Bruno replied on 02/20/2018
McKinsey Associate | London Business School consulting coach, with 300+ mock interviews | 100% recommendation rate!

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
I am a former BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews conducted and 8 years interviewing experience

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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