5 Major Restaurant Chains With Outrageous Prices, According to Customers
In the last year or so, fast-food chains have slowly increased menu prices—mostly due to inflation and the adjustment to an almost post-pandemic world. Customers have begun to notice the many sneaky upcharges and "surgical" higher prices at major chains and are absolutely not having it.
As of September, the cost of fast food has spiked up 8.5% in comparison to last year, the National Restaurant Association reports. No matter how big of a fan you are of fast food chains, it's frustrating to see the Domino's Mix & Match deal jump from $5.99 to $6.99 and now $7.99. And it's not insanity for there to be chaos around burger prices at Shack Shake going up by 7%.
Inflation is in the air, sure, but how much more can our wallets take? These 4 fast-food chains won't be catching a break from customers anytime soon, because as prices rise, so do the complaints.
Little Caesars started serving loyal customers Hot n' Ready $5 pizzas in 1959, but times have changed and so have the chain's prices. For the first time in 25 years, the pizza joint raised the price of the legendary cheap pizzas by 11% at the beginning of 2022. While fans adore the classic pepperoni pie and Little Caesars staple Crazy Bread, many have noticed the increased costs of visiting the pizza joint—and they're really not happy about it.
The chain announced the Hot n' Ready price would go up to $5.55, claiming it would account for pies coming loaded with 33% more pepperoni. That being said, there have been numerous complaints on social media and Reddit of customers finding prices to be significantly higher in many places and causing even more frustration.
One customer went to Tik Tok to say that, after decades of the $5 pizza, Little Caesars is now selling its classic pies for $7.49, The Daily Dot reported.
While Little Caesars gets an A for effort for adding more pepperoni, it's not good enough for fans, according to one Redditor: "It was $9.99 where I'm at and a double pepperoni from somewhere more dedicated to quality pizza and not cheap grab-n-go is worth the few bucks difference at that point."
"If I get two and pick it up myself, Dominos is $5.99. $6.99 for delivery," another Redditor added, "Why would I get the cardboard that is Little Caesar's when I can get two topping Dominos for the same price?"
For a long time, Five Guys has been considered one of the most expensive options for burger chains in the game. That being said, in today's market, customers are claiming that it's only gotten progressively worse and they're getting to the point of no return.
A viral Tik Tok showed a meal for two at Five Guys—including two bacon cheeseburgers, two fries, and two drinks—coming out to an unimaginable fast-food total of $70. "It wasn't a gourmet meal, just chips, and burgers," the Australian Tik Toker, Dani.stevens02 said in her post, along with, "I will never be going to Five Guys again."
Customers believe that in terms of average American fast food, Five Guys doesn't offer up a lot of cheap items at all. The smallest fry sells for $5.09 and a regular bacon cheeseburger costs over $12.
There are tons of tweets on a daily basis of how enragingly overpriced Five Guys has gotten. Some customers will say it's a plus that workers usually throw extra fries in the bag, but the overall quality of this burger joint hasn't gone up with the higher prices.
The golden arches may be losing the golden status of fast food. Last year, McDonald's fans were fuming about the price of a Big Mac going up nearly 40% from the last decade, and now costing an average of $6.05 in the U.S.
As for the rest of the menu at McDonald's, customers are fully aware that their favorites are going to cost more than ever. All item prices are up by 6% and many nationally recognized low-value offers are getting scratched to make room for more personalized customer deals and smaller version of the $1 $2 $3 value menu.
After stopping in for a quick snack of a small fry and a large sweet tea, one customer was not happy when he saw his total on the screen.
Not only have angry customers spoken out on social media, but McDonald's employees have reportedly said that the rise in prices has also caused a rise in customer harassment within stores. It's now as if customers find "it's okay to emotionally abuse workers and leave messes," a McDonald's cashier told Insider, after a 10-cent dispute with a customer over a cup of coffee.
Chipotle has been under fire all year and the number one reason—a simple burrito bowl is 20% more expensive than it was in 2020. An average chicken bowl was about $7.25 back in 2019, and about $7.65 in 2020, but today, customers are increasingly infuriated by the fact that their bowl at Chipotle costs over $10 (regardless of the choice in protein).
While the fast-casual Mexican food chain has always had an extremely faithful fan base, it may not go on for much longer. CNN reported that customers are visiting Chipotle less frequently and when they visit, they downgrade their order to the cheapest menu items.
A single steak bowl with all the go-to toppings came out to $20.99 for Fayez Beshay, whose angry viral Tik Tok of him screaming to Chipotle for answers blew up at the end of last year. Another dissatisfied Chipotle-goers said in the comments "Chipotle has been getting on my nerves with these price increases. And the quality is hit or miss." While others claim, "I rather make it home now! Literally for 2 bowls with chips and drinks like $45"
America's leading coffee chain is continuing to squeeze every last cent out of its customers. Starbucks' menu has become more expensive overall item by item, plus, an additional price increase on add-ins and extras.
Major complaints have come to light as livid customers poke holes in the chain's higher product prices, after being able to report profits were up 31% in 2022 and the CEO of Starbucks was given a 39% raise to a whopping $20.4 million. "Companies are doing a great job rebranding corporate greed as 'inflation,'" Dan Price, CEO of financial company Gravity Payments, wrote in a Tweet "And the rich get richer off the work of staff and savings of customers," another patron replied.
Starbucks customers also chime into the conversation on Reddit by saying things like "I've cut back on my Starbucks. Not because I can't afford it, but because the prices are too high." As well as, "It's just too expensive. If I'm gonna spend $6-$8 on a treat for myself, it's gonna be from a local cafe that actually cares about what they're serving. Not overpriced and overvalued fast-food-level crap."
As for Starbucks, in its most recent earnings call, the chain's execs noted that it would not be offering discounts because, despite the prices, people are still shelling out cash to sip its drinks.
A version of this story was originally published on Nov 10, 2022. It has been updated to include new information.