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Here's how Customer Backlash Forced Fast-Food Giant McDonald's to Reduce Prices

If the burger chain follows through with its plans to lower the prices, then the sales may go up in the future.
Cover Image Source: McDonald's sign | Getty Images |  Nathan Stirk
Cover Image Source: McDonald's sign | Getty Images | Nathan Stirk

McDonald's often boasts about how they have time and again increased their prices without it affecting their sales, all thanks to brand value. The burger chain recently reported weaker-than-expected sales at all its US stores. As per CEO Chris Kempczinski, "Eating at home has become more affordable," per ABC Chicago

While grocery prices have risen by 1% in 2023, dining-out prices have seen a surge of 5.2%, per the Latest Consumer Price Index report. “We saw that cohort (customers making $45,000 or less) decrease in the most recent quarter,” the CEO added. This emphasis on affordability marks a shift from just a few months ago. 

Cover Image Source: McDonald's | Getty Images | Anna Barclay
 McDonald's | Getty Images | Anna Barclay

“Even though we’re pushing through pricing, the consumer is tolerating it well,” he said in an October 2023 analyst call. Inflation has slowed quite a bit, however, prices of everyday necessities remain high and people are getting fed up. 

Recently, netizens have fired at the burger chain for the high costs. Social media posts have brought to the limelight the price of a Big Mac meal which is around $18. On TikTok, many have said that the company has seriously gone too far with their pricing. The chain reportedly charges $3 for a single hash brown in some locations. 

"I know y’all remember the 2 cheeseburger combo was like $5 just 3 years ago, it's like $8 now," reads one of the top comments on a video titled, "Who told y’all y’all was that good to be charging that much for your food?"

Cover Image Source: Facebook/McDonald's India
Chicken nuggets | Facebook | McDonald's India

Having said that, it's important to note that the prices of the meals and other food items slightly vary from place to place. 

"For middle- and high-income groups, we’re not seeing any real behavior change," he said. “We continue to gain share with those groups. But the battleground is certainly with that low-income consumer," Kempczinski added. It's been quite some time since the company has taken criticism for jacking up the prices that have affected customers. The company announced its Best Burger initiative, which focuses on making small changes to the company's burgers to create a more flavorful product. 


"Our goal was to enhance the quality and the flavor and the overall eating experience of our core burgers, but we wanted to stay true to the tastes that everyone loves," McDonald’s U.S. Chief Restaurant Officer Mason Smoot said at a media event, according to CNBC.

The company reported its first quarterly sales target miss in four years, mostly due to the conflict in the middle that resulted in the company's shares plummeting about 4 percent.  If the burger chain does follow through on its plans to lower the prices, then the sales may go up in the future. A photo of a McDonald's receipt from a rest stop location in Fairfield made the news. The bill showed that the particular outlet was charging $14.58 for two egg McMuffins which means each sandwich was around $7.29.

"I don't eat [at McDonald's] because the price is outrageous," an X user, @ShrimpTeslaLong commented