Mcdonald's Senior US Executive Denounces Viral Rumors of Soaring Costs

The top executive of McDonald’s in the United States criticized viral reports about excessively high prices for Big Macs, stating that they do not accurately represent the company. In fact, McDonald’s profits have increased by about 33% since 2019, and they are now getting ready to introduce $5 combo meals.

“It frustrates and worries me, as well as many of our franchisees, when I hear about a $18 Big Mac meal being sold,” said Joe Erlinger, the President of McDonald’s USA, in an open letter published on the company’s website on Wednesday.

“What’s even more concerning is when people think that this is the normal situation and not just a rare occurrence, or when individuals begin to claim that the prices of a Big Mac have increased by 100% since 2019.”

McDonald’s profits have gone up by about 30% from 2019 to 2023. McDonald’s made a little over $14.56 billion in profit in 2023. In 2019, the amount was almost $11.18 billion.

McDonald’s has been focusing on positioning itself as a brand that offers good value for money in recent months. The company announced that it will offer a $5 combo meal for a limited time this summer.

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According to McDonald’s, the prices at their restaurants are determined by franchisees. These franchisees operate the majority of McDonald’s stores in the U.S., accounting for over 95% of the total. The $18 Big Mac, which has been widely discussed in the media, was sold at a franchise store in Darien, Connecticut. This town has a median household income of over $250,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2021.

Erlinger stated that the average price of a Big Mac in the U.S. is $5.29. This is a 21% increase since 2019. This contradicts reports that have unreliable sources and claim much larger price increases.

The letter included an infographic that mentioned “myths” from social media posts and an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

Erlinger mentioned that McDonald’s has established its brand by offering affordable options and is dedicated to maintaining that reputation, particularly during a time when customers are in greater need of affordability.

Recently, people in the U.S. have been complaining about inflation and “greedflation” affecting fast food restaurants like McDonald’s. These restaurants are known for offering affordable meals for working people.

In February, the hamburger chain Wendy’s caused a lot of discussion on social media. This happened after the CEO mentioned in a call with investors that the chain would try out “dynamic pricing.” The critics understood the comment to mean that surge pricing, which is often seen in airlines and ride-hailing services like Uber, was being referred to. Wendy’s stated that the interpretation was incorrect.

Bank of America, in a note to investors, stated that it believes the prices on McDonald’s menu should be reduced. McDonald’s prices have gone up by 20% since 2022, which is more than the price increases at Wendy’s (15%) and Burger King (16% at one franchisee).

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