Inflation seems to be catching up with CNY fast food prices

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Happy meals aren’t looking so happy lately.

It seems fast inflation is catching up with fast food prices. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s are driving up menu prices.

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The food is fast, but inflation is faster.

“The prices are crazy,” said Ronal Valerio, a Syracuse resident.

NewsChannel 9 set out to Erie Boulevard East on Thursday, May 30, to see just how much a quick bite would be. The goal was to buy the same meal from three different establishments, which included a cheeseburger, a medium fry, and a medium soda.

McDonald’s order: Quarter Pounder with cheese, medium fries, and medium Coca-Cola.
Price: $8.89
Price with tax: $9.60

Burger King order: Whopper with cheese, medium fries, and medium Coca-Cola.
Price: $11.19
Price with tax: $12.09

Wendy’s order: Dave’s Single, medium fries, and medium Coca-Cola.
Price: $12.19
Price with tax: $13.17

Hearing double digits almost every time you hit the drive-thru seems to be the new norm.

“Like ten years ago, or even 5 years ago, buying something from McDonald’s would be like maybe $5.00 for a whole meal,” said Valerio.

In the past few years, prices have skyrocketed. The Department of Labor says fast food costs were 33 percent higher in March of 2024, compared to what they were five years ago.

“Today I just got a quick burger, sometimes it can get into the $10, $15 range. Even from my childhood, I’m only 26 and that was unheard of, even just five, ten years ago,” said Austin Fehrman, Syracuse resident.

Despite the cheap spots not being so cheap anymore, it’s not stopping fast food fanatics.

“It’s convenient. I can take an hour lunch, a 30-minute lunch, and I can be within 15 minutes, I get my lunch and enjoy my hour lunch” said Valerio.

“It’s convenient, yeah. I order it on my phone, it’s ready in five minutes or less. Then I come through the drive-thru, it’s in my hand. It’s easy, it’s convenient, I don’t need to think about anything,” said Fehrman.

Even the price.

The president of McDonald’s acknowledges rising costs, but blames the price jumps on the supply chain and higher worker pay.

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