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Created: Dec 3, 2012
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Wendys Vs McDonalds: Caloric Comparison
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Ethan Eloquin and Ben Provencial
Professor Huffman

Wendy’s vs. McDonalds Calories

Does Wendy’s or McDonalds on average have fewer calories per menu item? We predict that McDonalds will have fewer calories than Wendy’s on comparative food items. We based our prediction on the negative media that has surrounded McDonalds. We predicted that as a result of this negative attention, the franchise would have taken measures to reduce the amount of calories consisted in their menu items. The populations in our studies are Wendy’s menu items and McDonalds menu items. The variable is the difference in calories of matched menu items.
We went online to the nutrition facts posted on each website in order to collect the calories per item. Wendy’s url: McDonalds url: We matched menu items based on most identical qualities. We attempted to avoid any bias by matching items as similarly as possible. If any menu items were not similar then a bias would occur because the amount of calories would not be comparable. Wendy’s has around 80 items posted and McDonalds has posted over 400 items but many of them are repetitive because of simple size or toppings changes. We used 25 menu items to compare, which is about 31% of their total items. This is enough to statistically represent the whole population.
In our study we had one quantitative variable and two populations that are matched. We matched sandwiches and wraps based on type of meat, ways cooked, and toppings, we matched kids menu items, drinks, fries, desserts, and nuggets based on sizes and other obvious similarities. Then we took the calorie count from McDonald’s matched items and subtracted the calorie count from Wendy’s relative matched item.
Our confidence level was 95%. The point estimate is -42.2. The margin of error is 262.84. The degree of freedom is 24. The Confidence Interval is (-305.04,220.64). The challenge fails because the interval contains zero. At the 95% confidence level there is not enough evidence to prove that the claim is statistically significant.
Our analyses of the data did not support our expected hypothesis. This means that now McDonalds and Wendy’s are equally unhealthy in terms of caloric content. However, we do not know how unhealthy these restaurants were before all the negative media arose around McDonald’s contributions to obesity. It is possible that McDonald’s has recently adjusted their menu items in retaliation to the bad media. Another possible theory is that Wendy’s has always been as unhealthy as McDonald’s except they received far less negative media about their foods being unhealthy. Our significance level was .05, if we had a smaller confidence interval we may be able to find a significance level where the challenge passes but at the .05 level it does not pass. Our test lead us to to find that both Wendy's and McDonald's on average when comparing menu items contain about the same amount of calories.

Summary statistics:
Column n Mean Std. Dev. Min Max Q1 Q3 Median
Wendys 25 412.8 245.68816 40 970 230 580 370
McDonalds 25 370.6 201.48573 15 790 230 520 350

Result 2: Wendy's vs McDonalds Table   [Info]
Summary statistics:
Column n Mean Std. Dev. Median Min Max Q1 Q3
Difference 25 -42.2 127.34533 -25 -420 180 -90 10

Result 3: Histogram- Differences in calories between Wendy's and McDonalds   [Info]
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Result 4: Wendys Histogram   [Info]
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Result 5: McDonalds histogram   [Info]
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Data set 1. wendys vs mcdonalds   [Info]
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