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Price Rise at McDonald's Triggers Outrage; Brand Responds With Affordable Meals

People across the nation have been criticizing the food chain for its high prices, a departure from its previous reputation for affordability.
Cover Image Source: McDonald's | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy
Cover Image Source: McDonald's | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy

Inflation has been affecting every sector and along with groceries, fast food is also becoming costlier. Among major names in the food and beverages market, McDonald's has been making headlines for its rising prices in recent times. People across the country have been criticizing the fast food chain for its steep price rise, since it was previously known for its affordability. "McDonald’s has a dollar menu right now without a single item that costs $1," TikTok user Anna Arroyo posted. Customers have noticed that the cheapest item on the $1 menu is $1.99. "I think that the title Dollar Menu is a misnomer," she said.

The Golden Arches logo of the fast food restaurant McDonald's is illuminated above the door, on November 18, 2023 in Bristol, England. Founded in 1940, American multinational fast food chain McDonald's Corporation, best known for its Big Mac hamburgers, cheeseburgers and french fries, is the world's largest fast food restaurant chain.|Getty Images| Photo by Matt Cardy
Image Source: McDonald's | Getty Images | Photo by Matt Cardy

"They are trying to capitalize on an old business model that no longer exists, and it just brings more attention to their inflated prices. I miss the days of being able to get a regular hamburger for 89 cents and a small fry for $1," Arroyo added.

Data from the USDA reveals that both groceries and dining out have significantly impacted Americans' budgets. According to the data, Americans allocated 11% of their income towards food expenses, marking the highest expenditure on eating since 1991.

"This is a metric that's about the share of our disposable personal income which the USDA tracks, and which recently was at essentially a 31-year high," Jesse Newman, food reporter for the Wall Street Journal, told CBS News.


Amidst escalating prices, McDonald's is under scrutiny for its increasingly steep prices. Last year's uproar over $18 Big Mac meals has also compelled the chain to address the issue.

Tennessee musician Lauren Oxford recalls a time when she could enjoy two McDonald’s double hamburgers, fries, and a drink for less than $5. However, those days are long gone. "I don’t know if I can justify that," she comments on the rising prices.


Last month, McDonald's CEO acknowledged the negative impact of price hikes, admitting that they have alienated core customers. He emphasized the need to prioritize "affordability" moving forward. "I think what you’re going to see as you head into 2024 is probably more attention to what I would describe as affordability," said McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinski.

In response to outrage, McDonald's quietly introduced affordable meal options. Recently, a TikTok creator named Leiela Kapewa-Latu (@xolovelei), expressed delight upon discovering the family meal for four, generating over 12 million views and sparking widespread interest. Priced at $12, the dinner box includes two Big Macs, four small fries, a 10-piece order of Chicken McNuggets, and a choice of sauce.

"Twelve dollars, y’all. That’s pretty f---ing good," she says in the video. "So if you didn’t know, like we didn’t know, twelve dollars gets you a dinner box. It’s not on the menu. So you’re probably going to just have to ask."

@anna2morrow McDonald’s pricing is getting out of hand. How are you gonna. All something a follar menu and put $1 $2 $3 right next to that when there are no $1 items? This isnt even a McDonald’s in a nice area. #foryoupage #trending #fyp #mcdonalds #capitalism #inflation ♬ original sound - Anna


While many welcomed McDonald's efforts to address pricing concerns, others lamented the unavailability of the deal at their local restaurants. According to the company, individuals earning below $45,000 annually have reduced their patronage of the burger chain. "The battleground is certainly with that low-income consumer," added the CEO.