Skip to content

McDonald's Menu Prices Are Rising for This Reason

The massive fast-food chain has all but abandoned the once famed Dollar Menu.
mcdonalds menu

If you feel like prices have been creeping up at your local McDonald's in the past few years, you're right. They have.

According to Restaurant Business Online, franchisees across the nation have been increasing prices on many popular premium items such as the classic Big Mac. But why are stores raising prices on many items? Simply put, because they have realized they can for two reasons: customer reliability and the demise of the value menu… or, in McDonald's case, the Dollar Menu.

According to Today, the Dollar Menu was first introduced in 2002 and was essentially done away with in 2017, when the chain switched to the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu. While intended to function much as rock bottom "door buster" sales do on the shopping bonanza known as Black Friday, the Dollar Menu was intended to get customers into the store and, ideally, likely to end up making larger purchases. In practice, it had the effect of forcing franchisees to keep prices on non-dollar menu items lower than they wanted.

"We were tied to the Dollar Menu for so long, it tied our hands to raise the rest of the menu," former McDonald's franchise owner Jim Lewis told Restaurant Business Online. If prices on regular menu items grew too high for customer preference, the customer would simply shift to Dollar Menu items.

With the Dollar Menu effectively gone, franchisees can now raise prices on other beloved menu items without customers having much recourse (other than leaving without making a purchase). And based on reported 3.6% year-over-year increases in same-store sales in the three years since the Dollar Menu was slashed, the new approach is working, at least from a business viewpoint.

For more McDonald's news, check out the 5 new McDonald's menu items that will be released in 2021.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more