Fast food prices have increased at a rate far outpacing inflation. While the average inflation rate for 2022 was 8%, “fast-food menu prices jumped significantly in 2022 — about 13%,” writes CNET, citing data from Pricelisto.
“That’s even more than the cost of groceries, which bounced roughly 12% in 2022,” notes author David Watsky.
There are a few things that can account for these price increases. One is a phenomenon called “premiumization,” where businesses add more, higher-priced “premium” products for shoppers willing to spend more. The hope, explains a New York Times article from March, is that businesses will make more from fewer customers ready to spend more, than from many customers who spend less.
However, for everyday shoppers looking to eat at a familiar restaurant, these sudden price increases can come as a shock and, eventually, a frustration. Now, a user on TikTok has sparked discussion after voicing his ire at these rising prices.
“It seems like fast food restaurants have forgotten that we do not eat them because they are good. We eat at them because they are cheap,” says TikTok user @pizzabreak.tv in a video with over 306,000 views.
@pizzabreak.tv #greenscreen #politics #fastfood #economic #inflation #foodcost #leftist #liberal #democrat #poor #localbusiness #wendys #mcdonalds #tacobell #dontgetscammed #fyp ♬ original sound – Pizza politics
“Not that long ago, I used to be able to get McChickens for $1,” the TikToker recalls. “Then, it became ‘if you get two McChickens it’ll be $2’—otherwise it’s like $1.39 or something. Now, they are charging $4 for two f*cking McChickens. Are you out of your f*cking minds?”
“The bottom line at this point is, you might as well just start eating at local restaurants,” the TikToker states. “You might as well go to local places because they’re going to charge a comparable price with better quality food.”
“And honestly, just stop eating at f*cking Taco Bell, Wendy’s—all these fast food restaurants that think it’s OK to increase their cost by 50 or even 100 percent over the course of a couple of years,” he concludes. “Because inflation is not that f*cking high and there’s no reason why we should allow them to f*cking charge us this much for f*cking dogsh*t food that’s probably poisoning us anyway.”
In the comments section, many users agreed with the TikToker’s assessment.
“Dude I went to Subway and got a wrap a drink and a chips and they charged $20,” recalled a user. “Might as well just go to a nice restaurant huh.”
“Wish local places were comparable but I went to a food truck and got a quesadilla, tostada and a coke for $30!!!” exclaimed another.
“No bc [Chick-fil-A] has always been expensive but why was it $7.50 for just a chicken sandwich last time i went,” shared a third.
The Daily Dot reached out to @pizzabreak.tv via Instagram direct message.
Update 11:49am CT Sept. 18: In an Instagram DM exchange with the Daily Dot, the TikToker says he’s noticed the upward trend of costs for a long time.
“I would argue that corporate greed has been getting out of control for the last several years,” he explained. “During COVID, you saw all corporations shrinking the size of their products. For fast food, for example, they would shrink the size of the drink or fries in a value meal they had. Now, they are increasing the prices way beyond inflation or any major average wage increases in this country.”
The reasons for this upward trend, he said, are multifaceted.
“The idea that corporations have a duty to their share holders which demand constant growth every year which simply is not substantial and eventually will require unethical practices to maintain record profits,” the TikToker wrote. “This includes lobbying the government to cut down on regulations and prevent any type of consumer protections like price controls or preventing any increases in minimum wage, which a lot of these fast food places will try to pay their employees as close to that number as possible.”
“If people want to combat these practices they need to organize and communicate with one another,” he concluded.