McDonald's Adult Happy Meals Are More Profitable Than You Could Imagine

The Cactus Plant Flea Market Boxes drove unreal amounts of foot traffic to McDonald’s.

They arrived. They delighted the masses. They thrived on the secondary market. Their popularity overwhelmed workers. Their disappearance angered the masses. McDonald's Cactus Plant Flea Market Boxes—aka $12 Big Mac Happy Meals for adults—have caused quite a stir since their debut a few weeks ago. But new data indicates just how much of a boost they gave McDonald's business in the process, and the numbers are staggering.

McDonald’s most successful collaboration to date

Nation's Restaurant News reports that new traffic analytics indicate a huge spike in foot traffic to McDonald's during the week the Cactus Plant Flea Market Boxes debuted nationwide. The week of October 3, visits to the chain were up 37% compared to the same period in 2021. And lest we attribute any post-2020 numbers to pandemic anomalies, visits were even up 29% over that same period in 2019.


Given that we can reasonably assume many of those additional visits resulted in a purchase of an adult Happy Meal, and given that those Happy Meals cost roughly $12 a pop—a few bucks higher than the cost of a typical McDonald's meal involving an entree, side, and drink—you start to see just how successful this promotion really was.

McDonald's knows how to engineer a good frenzy, but not even the chain's immensely popular J Balvin Meal or Travis Scott Meal saw this kind of widespread demand—and the latter was so popular that it led to a Quarter Pounder shortage.

How much McDonald’s made off Cactus Plant Flea Market Boxes

Beyond the purchases of the Happy Meal itself, let's also consider the matter of merch. Cactus Plant Flea Market x McDonald's isn't just about the Happy Meal toys; the collab introduced an online store with tons of streetwear apparel and even $250 plushes of the four-eyed Happy Meal characters. No item in the store cost less than $60, and every item has long since sold out.


Those numbers surely add up to massive earnings for Cactus Plant Flea Market founder Cynthia Lu. Travis Scott, for example, made an estimated $5 million from the endorsement portion of his collaboration with McDonald's, but a projected $15 million from the promotion's merch sales—and remember, data suggests the CPFM promotion outstripped that one. Whenever a celebrity benefits from a collaboration with McDonald's, the fast food chain benefits in equal or (much more likely) greater measure.

We won't have solid numbers until McDonald's releases a quarterly earnings report that accounts for the Happy Meal promotion—but this will be the quarter to beat. No matter what economic forces are swirling in the background, it would seem that McDonald's can make hypebeasts of us all.