McDonald's $5 Meal Would Make Fast Food Affordable Again

Inflation has been a popular topic of discussion for a while now. Many consumers are no longer surprised when their coffee order comes out to $8 or their favorite lunch-break meal catches a case of shrinkflation. What feels the most shocking, however, is when places that are known for their value and low cost suddenly change their tune. Such is the case with McDonald's, which has been counteracting inflation as well as rising labor and operation costs by increasing its menu prices. Now, it seems as though McDonald's wants to do better. According to a report from CBS News, the fast food chain has been discussing adding a $5 meal to its menu. At least on paper, the corporation seems to understand that McDonald's customers are fed up with increasing prices.

McDonald's $5 meal would include a sandwich, four chicken nuggets, fries, and a drink. If purchased separately, these items could add up to more than $12 depending on location. A 2024 study conducted by FinanceBuzz found that, on average, McDonald's prices have doubled in the last 10 years, the highest of any other chain included in the study. Even Starbucks, one of the chains with the lowest hikes, though, still increased prices by 39%.

McDonald's wants its customers back

McDonald's $5 meal would likely attract more customers. These days, Americans are more conservative with their fast food outings; 25% of people making less than $50,000 per year report fewer visits due to a lack of affordability, according to data from Revenue Management Solutions. Much of McDonald's business, however, comes from low-income customers, so it's essential for the brand to draw them back. According to a 2024 Q1 earnings call transcript made available by Seeking Alpha, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said, "McDonald's has a long history of being the go-to destination for value and it's imperative that we continue to keep affordability at the forefront for our customers."

Back when McDonald's had its popular dollar menu, the fast food chain seemed to be the epitome of affordability. Unfortunately for customers, this menu vanished in 2013 and was replaced with the "Dollar Menu & More." Today, it's the "$1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu," which includes a limited range of sandwiches, sides, and drinks. The McDonald's app is another way customers can find deals and get rewards for their spending. Talks of a $5 meal give us hope, but if you want to learn about the other side of the coin, check out the most expensive McDonald's items around the world.