Aside from the convenience and undeniable comfort, one of the biggest draws of eating at fast-food chains is affordability. But customers have started to notice that fast food isn't nearly as cheap as it used to be, and that extends to one of the biggest restaurant brands in the world: McDonald's.
A TikToker recently went viral for highlighting some shockingly high McDonald's prices. In the video, which has received close to 280,000 views, @xconmedia zoomed in on the McDonald's menu at a Connecticut location while commenting on the combo meals' astounding prices.
A Big Mac combo, for example, was listed for $16.89, while a McCrispy chicken sandwich combo was listed for $16.69. Other variations of the McCrispy line were priced even higher, such as the Spicy Deluxe McCrispy which was listed for a whopping $17.89.
The video has received more than 3,800 comments from other users who saw the elevated prices as proof that McDonald's has gotten more expensive than it's worth.
"They can keep those burgers!!!! I'll never pay that," one commented.
"Now I have a reason to tell the kids 'we have food at home,'" another said.
It's important to note that prices for nearly all major fast-food brands vary by location, and some customers reported paying less for combo meals at their local McDonald's restaurants. Still, the video underscores a price problem that McDonald's customers have been complaining about for some time.
In the third quarter of 2022, McDonald's reported an average price increase in the United States of about 10% when compared to the third quarter of the prior year. And in the fourth quarter of 2022, McDonald's said that higher menu prices helped the company top estimates for earnings and revenue.
So why has McDonald's subjected itself to the anger of customers by raising prices in recent years? Like other restaurant chains, McDonald's has said that the price increases were meant to offset inflation and higher costs for food and commodities.
McDonald's has also been on a mission to gradually increase wages for its employees. When competition for workers was soaring in 2021, the chain committed to boosting pay to an average of $15 an hour at company-owned restaurants by 2024, according to CNBC. Higher labor costs are yet another reason the company has given for why customers are paying more during McDonald's visits, The Wall Street Journal reported.
While McDonald's hasn't been able to escape complaints about its prices, the cost of eating at the fast-food giant doesn't seem to be completely deterring customers. Same-store sales in the United States increased 10.3% in the fourth quarter of 2022, while same-store sales globally increased 12.6%, according to the company.
McDonald's was contacted for comment on the price complaints but didn't immediately respond.
As McDonald's customers reckon with higher fast-food bills, the company itself is also in the midst of a reckoning about its future. The company reportedly shut down its offices last week as it planned to lay off hundreds of workers during a major workforce restructuring. The move raised questions about whether McDonald's is planning to make cuts to the menu as part of the restructuring, since CEO Chris Kempczinski has taken issue with what he views as the needless duplication of certain menu items at McDonald's locations throughout the world.