Customer slams McDonald’s for price increases, says they’re losing working class customers

@patrickcunningham_3/TikTok Ken Wolter/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘They’re pricing out their most consistent base of customers’: Man says McDonald’s price increases are isolating working-class customers

"Sit down restaurant is actually cheaper now than 'fast food.'"


Jack Alban


Posted on Mar 2, 2024   Updated on Mar 2, 2024, 9:16 am CST

If you think McDonald’s has been charging too much for its fast food, you’re not alone. While inflation has generally upped the cost of goods across virtually all goods and services, food inflation, particularly when it comes to fast food, seems to be disproportionately higher.

Customers are voicing their ire for these price hikes on social media, like TikToker Freddie Smith who said that McDonald’s becoming a “luxury” is a bad sign.

Sports commentator and analyst Patrick Cunningham (@patrickcunningham_3) echoed this sentiment. Still, he pointed out that there are other restaurants offering “better quality” food and larger portions of it while charging less.

“You know sh*t’s messed up when McDonald’s is becoming a luxury,” Smith says in his video before Cunningham chimes in with his own commentary on the situation.

“McDonald’s and the rest of these companies better realize they are pricing out their most consistent base of customers and that’s just regular working-class families,” he says. “At the Mickey D’s across from my apartment complex…basically, $10, for a 10-piece nugget combo meal. That used to be less than half that.”

He continues, “What are you supposed to do if you have to feed a family of five? That’s basically $75.”

Cunningham explains how at the hibachi restaurant in his home town, he can get a meal with soup, salad, veggies, noodles, and rice for only $16.

“Why would I go to your fast food restaurant for way less quality of food that’s way too expensive when I could get way better food, way more of it, and for just a few dollars more?” he asked at the end of his clip.

Several viewers agreed with his line of thinking, with one saying that going to a restaurant is more cost-effective than frequenting a fast food spot.

“Sit down restaurant is actually cheaper now than ‘fast food,'” they wrote.

The user makes a good point: There are other TikTokers, like one woman, who says she buys curbside to-go kids meals five days a week to save money, highlighting that the portions are more than generous and the price points are great.

She adds that in conjunction with rewards programs, folks can expect to save a lot of money, too. And for Cunningham’s remarks about how expensive it is for families to dine out at fast food places, other parents have opined about this same phenomenon on social media, like one dad who was shocked to spend $53 at Taco Bell for his family of four.

@patrickcunningham_3 #stitch with @Freddie Smith Bring back the $1 menu. #mcdonalds #fastfood #america #usa #workingmom #workingclass #middleclass #capitalism #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Patrick Cunningham

Other commenters yearned for the fast food prices of yesteryear, like one person who penned, “Y’all remember the dollar menu?” And another who said, “Whos old enough to remember $5 foot long?”

One TikToker wrote, “I remember being able to get 20 chicken nuggets for $5 lmao”

This seems to have set Cunningham off who responded with, “Two breakfast sandwiches, without the meal, is damn near $10 now. They used to be like $2 each.”

Another user swooped in and said that there was a unique opportunity for a fast food chain to come in and sell low-cost burgers.

“This is seriously an opportunity for a company to come in and do inexpensive burgers and dominate the market,” they said.

This type of business strategy isn’t one that’s foreign to restaurants. By offering a selection of attractive low-margin items for a low price, let’s say burgers, and then offering higher-margin sides like french fries at a lower price point, companies can then pump out high-volume sales to bring in those margins.

One TikTok user believes that the era of fast food should be done and over with for good because they are no longer economical—i.e. their purpose has been defeated.

Mickey D’s has received so much heat from folks for their pricing that the company’s CEO, Chris Kempczinski, said the brand would be addressing “affordability issues,” since reports indicate the volume of transactions with lower-income demographic customers is starting to dwindle.

The Daily Dot has reached out to McDonald’s via email and Cunningham via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Mar 2, 2024, 12:00 pm CST