Fries are the perfect pairing for pretty much any fast-food order, and many consumers agree that McDonald's does fries better than all or most fast-food joints. However, McDonald's customers have reportedly been cutting back on the quintessential side dish lately, and they say it's because the chain's fries have become much more expensive than they're worth.
McDonald's had a stellar first quarter of 2023, beating expectations on earnings and revenue and reporting a 12.6% increase in global same-store sales. Company executives attributed these gains to factors like menu price increases and increased traffic from guests seeking more affordable options
Despite the promising results, the company noted in an earnings call this week that its restaurants are seeing a "slight decrease in units per transaction." This means that customers are adding fewer items, such as french fries, to their orders when they do stop by a McDonald's, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said.
"So things like did someone add fries to their order, how many items are they buying per order, we're seeing that go down in most of our markets around the world slightly, but it's still going down," Kempczinski added.
"I never order fries. A large is like $5 now where I live. Not worth it at all," a customer commented.
"Fries cost an obscene amount compared to other things," another said.
And not only do customers think the fries have become too expensive, but they also say the execution has become very hit-or-miss.
"If I could get some that were fully cooked, I wouldn't hesitate. I can't remember the last time I got a good, fully-cooked order of fries from McD's. They're always undercooked and soggy. So I stopped ordering them," a Redditor commented.
Just how expensive are McDonald's fries right now? While the bill may vary depending on the exact location, a large order of fries at a McDonald's restaurant in New Jersey currently costs $4.39.
For context, a $4.39 order of large fries is more expensive than a whole $2.89 McDouble and $2.59 McChicken sandwich at the same location. It also costs nearly as much as a McCrispy chicken sandwich, which was priced at $4.69 at the New Jersey restaurant.
At nearby Burger King and Wendy's restaurants, a large order of fries cost $3.69 and $3.79, respectively. So, McDonald's certainly charges the most for the side order in at least one East Coast area, and the Reddit thread indicates that many other consumers are also contending with elevated prices for fries at those famous Golden Arches.
This is not the only instance from this week where McDonald's customers criticized the brand. McDonald's announced earlier this month that it will roll out some major upgrades for its signature burgers by 2024, including cooking diced onions directly on the burger patties. This change infuriated some onion-wary customers, and worried other McDonald's fans who have onion allergies and sensitivities.