How the stock market decides Warren Buffett’s McDonald’s breakfast every day

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Warren Buffett enjoys a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich in the office of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska.
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“Becoming Warren Buffett”/HBO

The new HBO documentary “Becoming Warren Buffett” (now available on HBO Go/HBO Now) shows the multitude of ways that the richest man on earth earned the title and how he keeps it – right down to what he eats for breakfast each day.

“Becoming Warren Buffett” features Warren Buffett, his family, friends, and closest business associates discussing how he acquired his reported $74 billion net worth, his romantic relationships to two women (which overlapped each other), and his huge decision to give away most of his fortune to charitable causes.

At the beginning of the documentary, the 86-year-old Buffett takes the camera crew through his daily routine going on more than 50 years, including the five-minute drive from his home to to the offices for his holdings company Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska. On that short drive, he makes a daily pit stop.

“One of the good things about this five-minute drive is that on the way there’s a McDonald’s,” he says in the documentary.

This is where he reveals how he determines which breakfast sandwich he’ll purchase. Every morning, Buffett tells his current wife, Astrid, how much exact change to place in the center cup holder of his car. It’s either in the amounts of $2.61, $2.95, or $3.17.

“When I’m not feeling quite so prosperous, I might go with the $2.61,” he explains. “That’s two sausage patties and then I put them together and then pour myself a Coke. $3.17 is a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. But the market’s down this morning, so I think I’ll pass up the $3.17 and go with the $2.95.”

The $2.95 option is a Sausage McMuffin with egg and cheese.

After buying his breakfast, he eats the meal at his desk with his Coke. If you’re thinking that Buffett ingeniously inserted a commercial for a company he own shares in, it does appear that in 1997, Buffett held a large share of the McDonald’s Corporation, but it doesn’t currently appear among the reported stocks in Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio.

As for how Buffett supplies his roughly five cans of Coke per day, his daughter Susan Buffett recently told Business Insider that he pays retail, even though he’s the largest shareholder in the Coca-Cola company.

“It was stockpiled more when my mother lived there,” she said, “probably because she figured it was cheaper to buy a whole big bunch at once than to go into the grocery store frequently. Astrid is more likely to try to find out where it’s on sale and buy it on sale.”