McDonald's May Be Ditching This Longstanding Deal & Customers Are Angry
McDonald's Dollar Menu has undergone a lot of changes over the years—some less welcome than others. In 2015, the menu switched from everything only being a dollar to including a range of other value-driven prices. Then, in 2018, the menu received another facelift. The current version of the Dollar Menu is a tiered system, featuring $1, $2, and $3 dollar items, as well as local promotions that vary by region. Meanwhile, surging inflation costs have begun to impact virtually every industry, and the McDonald's Dollar Menu—specifically Dollar Drinks—may be the latest victim.
The Wall Street Journal reports that many locations have decided to quietly remove soda and other cold beverages from the Dollar Menu, further limiting what customers can still buy for a buck at the fast-food staple—and people aren't happy about it.
For many customers, the Dollar Menu drinks were one of the only remaining reasons they frequented the fast-food restaurant, where there were already few dollar items left. With inflation cutting into countless different areas in the cost of living, many people are sad to see it go.
Specifically, McDonald's locations in 16 of its 56 U.S. markets have reportedly voted to move away from the dollar drinks and transitioned to marketing their offerings under the banner of value meals instead. Some franchise owners have even decided to abandon the promotion altogether and simply raise the price of sodas.
According to McDonald's, it is up to franchise owners to determine which deals to offer at each location, although the company has recommended that all stores keep the drink deal on the menu.
"Franchisees set prices and have the flexibility to create promotions that will drive demand locally," McDonald's said in a statement.
The current inflation crisis isn't the only force at play, however. The company has woven price increases into its strategy in recent years. Recently, McDonald's hiked its U.S. pricing by roughly 8% compared to a year ago, according to CFO Kevin Ozan's remarks on an earnings call in April. The year before, the chain bumped prices up by 6%.
The burger giant has also been struggling to maintain positive relations with its franchise owners, who've been upset by the latest changes. The stricter guidelines for the restauranteurs represent a long history of turmoil between the McDonald's ranks and its CEO Chris Kempczinski.
Will the company fight to prevent the Dollar Menu from completely expiring? We'll have to wait and see.