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McDonald’s President Says $18 Max Deal Is an “Exception”

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McDonald’s President Says $18 Max Deal Is an “Exception”

McDonald’s President Says $18 Max Deal Is an “Exception”

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McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger had to put on his defensive shirt after it was revealed that some franchises in Connecticut sold an $18 Big Mac combo meal.

In his comments, Erlinger tried to appease disgruntled customers by saying that the costly meal was an “exception” limited to those franchises rather than a general occurrence. 

The Expensive Meal

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The trouble began after one user took to X with a post claiming they spent $18 on a Big Mac meal the previous summer. Many people were annoyed, and several took to the comments section to complain; a chain effect of fast food price inflation in the last couple of years. 

High Inflation Has Led to High Prices

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The United States has been dealing with inflation in several sectors, and the fast food industry is not exempt. Many eateries that serve fast food, like McDonald’s, have gradually increased their prices in response, and while people have patiently put up with it, this year has seen them feeling price fatigue.

Many have become more cautious and are no longer interested in spending so much on items that used to cost less. 

Erlinger’s Defense

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To prevent a full-blown outrage against the chain, McDonald’s USA President Erlinger wrote a letter to address the issue of one meal costing $18. In it, he confessed that the costly meal, a Big Mac combo, was an “exception.” He says it only happened in one of their many franchisees and is not a general rule. 

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McDonald’s Franchisees Are Independent

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Erlinger also revealed that franchisees manage the vast majority of McDonald’s locations in the United States, and their respective owners decide pricing. In the same breath, the President claimed that all franchisees are working hard to reduce the effects of price hikes on people.

McDonald’s Remains Focused on Affordability

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According to Erlinger’s letter, one of McDonald’s main focuses is keeping prices as low as possible. He and many other franchise owners are working hard to keep people interested in returning, and low prices are a way to do that. 

The Rise of McDonald's Menu Prices

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Erlinger has denied that all McDonald’s locations have increased their Big Mac combo meals to $18, and while that may be true, there is no denying the fast food chain has increased its menu prices considerably in the last decade. One report claims the prices doubled in those ten years. 

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Even Average Items Increased in Price

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One study revealed that some average McDonald’s items saw a price hike. These include a Big Mac that jumped from $3.99 to $5.99, the medium fry that now costs $3.79 from $1.59, and the McDouble that rose from $1.19 to $3.19.

The Phenomenon of Price Fatigue

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Price fatigue has been observed this year among people in the US as more people have been considering fast food as more of a luxury because of the increasing prices. McDonald’s, for example, recorded less foot traffic in the first quarter of 2024 because of this. 

Reversing the Effect of Price Fatigue in McDonald’s

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Having noticed the reduction in traffic at various locations, McDonald’s has returned to the blackboard in an attempt to formulate a plan to attract those who left. One way it is doing this is by reintroducing customer favorites and limited-time deals. 

There Will Be $5 Meals

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One of the most notable campaigns it has scheduled for Summer is $5 meal deals comprising a McDouble, a McChicken, or a four-piece McNugget meal. It will also come with fries and a drink. The cheaper meal is expected to rekindle interest in those who left and pacify those complaining. 

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Consumers Are Not Satisfied

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The $5 meal deal will only be available for a short period, and while it is being planned to attract customers, there has been backlash from those who think it should be available for a longer period of time.

Many have also argued that Erlinger’s claim that prices were not raised dramatically is untrue, as data confirms that their menu prices rose by a whopping 60% in one decade, almost double the inflation rate.

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