Why Some Fast Food Restaurants Charge For Extra Sauce Packets

Perhaps you like extra Sweet 'N Sour sauce to dip your Chicken McNuggets in at McDonald's, or maybe you're a big fan of Taco Bell's various intensities of Border sauces on your tacos. When you go to Arby's, is extra Horsey Sauce for your sandwiches more of a need than a want? Whatever the case, we've become big fans of condiments as a nation in general. In fact, in 2014, the market for condiments was at nearly six billion dollars (via Quartz), and people have been using extra sauce on their fast food. Some — but not all — fast food restaurants have begun charging extra for additional sauce packets.

But just what is their reasoning for passing on the price of sauce to the consumer rather than supplying condiments for free? In addition to the obvious reason of increased profits, some fast food franchise owners are looking to control condiment costs and avoid wastefulness. However, you may find that your favorite local fast-food joint doesn't charge for extra sauces like some of its counterparts. Why? In regards to McDonald's restaurants, most of them are franchisee-owned, and the individual owners have the prerogative to charge for extra sauce or not.

Fast food franchisees catch up on the cost of ketchup

In New York City, McDonald's franchises go both ways when it comes to charging for extra sauces. Rocio Vasquez, owner of an East Village McDonald's gives out up to four ketchup packets for free, but diners have to pay an extra $0.25 for an additional handful. Over in Brooklyn, however, McDonald's manager Miguel Ramos says he gives away additional ketchup for free. "I don't care how much ketchup they want. They could have as much as they want," Ramos said (via DNA Info).

Over on social media, users have strong opinions about charging for extra sauces. One TikToker, @niallcockram0, commented on a video of a McDonald's employee in the UK posting a sign that dips will cost an extra 10 pence (about $0.13 in USD), stating, "At what point does squeezing customers reach the limit?" On Reddit, u/AllRightDoublePrices asked other users how much each packet of sauce actually costs restaurants while lamenting their local Wendy's charged them $0.30 per sauce. The consensus was that each packet of sauce costs about $0.20, which perhaps warrants the extra charge to avoid both financial and environmental waste.