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Prices at these fast food restaurants increased the most in 10 years

(NEXSTAR) — How much more are you paying for your burger or chicken strips than you were 10 years ago? Recently, personal finance outlet FinanceBuzz collected and compared several major fast food chains’s prices over the past decade — to find which fast food restaurants raised prices the most.

Price increases were also compared against the overall inflation of the same time period, which was a 31% rise in the cost of goods since 2014.

Here’s the rate of inflation at fast food restaurants seen since 2014:

  • McDonald’s — 100%
  • Popeyes — 86%
  • Taco Bell — 81%
  • Chipotle — 75%
  • Jimmy John’s — 62%
  • Arby’s, Burger King, Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s — 55%
  • Panera — 54%
  • Subway and Starbucks — 39%

As FinanceBuzz explains, over the past 10 years, prices at the restaurants studied grew at nearly double the national rate of inflation. In the case of the first five chains that ranked at the top, prices increased at more than double — and McDonald’s prices grew more than three times — the national rate of inflation.

Here’s a look at some price hikes at McDonald’s over the past 10 years, as collected by FinanceBuzz:

Restaurant items 2014 Price 2024 Prices Difference Percent increase
McDonald’s McChicken sandwich $1.00 $2.99 +$1.99 +199%
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese meal $5.39 $11.99 +$6.60 +122%
McDonald’s 10-piece chicken nugget meal $5.99 $10.99 +$5.00 +83%
McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish $3.49 $5.49 +$2.00 +57%
McDonald’s Big Mac $3.99 $5.99 +$2.00 +50%
McDonald’s medium fries $1.59 $3.79 +$2.20 +138%

FinanceBuzz also notes that unlike many chains, McDonald’s franchisees are given more control in setting menu prices for different locations. The team says that to compensate for this, additional historical data and adjustments were made for accuracy.

Meanwhile, FinanceBuzz also studied the price increase of several popular menu items at many of the other restaurant chains, too.

At Popeyes, a two-piece chicken combo increased 76%, from $6.49 in 2014 to $11.39 in 2024. A four-piece chicken dinner increased 94%, from $6.99 in 2014 to $13.79 in 2024. Taco Bell’s highest increase can be seen in the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, the price of which spiked 132%, from $1.59 in 2014 to $3.69 now.

In addition to higher costs for “affordable” fast food options, Shubhranshu Singh, Ph.D., associate professor of marketing at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, told FinanceBuzz that there’s been a drastic decrease in fast food restaurants offering deals, coupons and promotions .

“When deals, coupons, and promotions are offered, they don’t appear to be as attractive as they used to be prior to the pandemic,” said Singh. “It appears the low-price items and deals that are currently offered are mostly to mitigate the recent backlash related to skyrocketing fast-food prices and not so much to make fast food more affordable for an average consumer.”

But Singh and other experts told the outlet that while consumers shouldn’t expect fast food menu items to decrease in prices, it’s likely the increase will begin stalling. Because price increases have so greatly outpaced ordinary inflation, there isn’t much room for increase that consumers are willing to pay.

To read the full study and its methodology, visit FinanceBuzz.