Skip to content

McDonald's Is Facing Staunch Criticism—Here's What Customers Are Saying

The tides seem to be turning for America's most popular fast-food joint.

It would be an understatement to say that McDonald's is a fast-food powerhouse. Mickey D's is the world's largest restaurant chain, with more than 40,000 locations operating in more than 100 countries. It's deeply embedded in popular culture and is behind some of the most iconic fast-food items of all time, from the Big Mac to the Oreo McFlurry. 

But despite its continued dominance in the restaurant industry, McDonald's reputation among its fans seems to have faltered in recent years. Criticism from customers has been mounting fast on social media. Plus, there's some data to back up the negative trend. In 2023 and 2024, the burger giant received the lowest customer satisfaction scores out of every fast-food chain considered in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Restaurant Study.

That's not to say that McDonald's is in danger of losing its fast-food crown anytime soon, if ever. The company has reported 13 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales and continues to expand at a breakneck speed. Additionally, many customers still have very high opinions of McDonald's and its food.

However, the sheer volume of complaints shows that many are souring on their once favorite place to eat. Here is some of the most staunch criticism McDonald's is receiving in 2024.

The chain isn't quite as affordable (so what's the point)

McDonald's menu board
ZikG / Shutterstock

Out of all the complaints that McDonald's customers have aired about the chain in 2024, the most common one revolves around its prices. McDonald's has been facing a barrage of criticism from diners who believe the chain isn't as affordable as it used to be. According to the company, average prices have risen by 21% for Big Macs, 28% for 10-piece Chicken McNugget meals, 23% for Egg McMuffins, 20% for Quarter Pounders with Cheese, 27% for Big Mac meals, and 44% for medium orders of fries since 2019. 

In a May open letter, McDonald's USA President Joe Erlinger said that prices for many of their items have risen less than the rate of inflation and their affordability is still in line with other quick-service restaurants. However, many diners still believe that McDonald's value just isn't as strong as it used to be.

"People went to McDonald's because it was cheap. Now that it's like $10 a meal, there's no reason to go," a customer commented in a Reddit thread about the chain.

"When a plate of General Tso's [chicken] and fried rice is $10.45 after tax at the Chinese spot across the street, it's hard to justify $12 single burger combos. I still eat fast food, but if I want burgers I make them at home," another person wrote. (For context, a single cheeseburger meal costs $10.59 at my local McDonald's in central New Jersey right now).

 Where to Find the World's Best McDonald's Restaurants

Coupons and deals aren't always honored

McDonald's app screen
Tada Images / Shutterstock

Not only is McDonald's more expensive nowadays, but some stores also reportedly refuse to honor promotions that would help customers save more of their hard-earned dollars. 

Franchisees, rather than McDonald's corporate arm, own and operate more than 95% of the chain's American locations. Those operators are responsible for setting their own prices, and customers report that some stores tend to opt out of offering advertised discounts and coupons. This has become a major frustration point for the people impacted. 

"My local franchisee-owned store always has mysterious 'server issues' and doesn't accept app coupons, rewards, or give points for any orders placed in person, on touchscreens, or drive-thru," a Redditor shared. "You must order ahead in the app and sometimes they mark themselves 'busy' and completely opt out of app orders too."

"If you can't even get your franchisees to participate in your app offers, the only thing that makes your prices reasonable, why the hell would anyone go?"

 The Entire McDonald's Menu, Ranked by Nutrition

The food could be better

mcdonald's big mac and fries
6428W Digital Art / Shutterstock

In addition to its prices and discounting practices, the actual food has also faced its share of complaints. Some think the food is just "meh" and say they can get better quality grub at other chains for similar or superior value.

"It's literally cheaper to get a meal at In-N-Out and they're my favorite," one Redditor noted

Others aren't fans of the revamped burger recipes that became available at McDonald's restaurants nationwide in January this year. The company made more than 50 changes to its signature burgers in total, including swapping in softer buns and adding white onions to the beef patties while they're still on the grill. While McDonald's says these are their "most craveable burgers yet," some customers much prefer the old versions. 

"Their new recipes for the burgers are also very bad and I miss the old recipe," a Redditor commented.

 Every McDonald's Dipping Sauce, Ranked

Order inaccuracies are common

McDonald's drive-thru
Orlando Arce / Shutterstock

According to customers, McDonald's also has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to order accuracy. While the ordering experience can certainly vary for every guest, some customers say their local stores consistently make mistakes while filling orders.  

"Of the five times I have gone there this year, they have gotten something wrong every single time without fail except for when I just got a Diet Coke," a customer lamented on Reddit. 

"Same. Except they gave me a Diet Dr. Pepper when I ordered a Coke," another Redditor responded.

Attempting to resolve order issues can sometimes cause even more headaches, according to fans.

"There is too much finger-pointing and a lack of accountability. My local store can't seem to ever get an order correct. If you report an issue through the app with your order, corporate immediately closes the ticket and says 'they have alerted the franchise' then nothing happens," a Redditor said.

"Some franchises have an email you can send feedback to as well but that's another dead end. For the prices they're asking it's no longer worth the trouble," they continued.

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe
Filed Under