McDonald's says the price increase reports are exaggerated

Fast food chain McDonald's has pushed back on claims about price rises in a bid to 'ensure the real facts are available'.

“Recently we have seen viral social and poorly sourced reports that McDonald's has raised prices significantly above inflation,” said Joe Erlinger, the president of McDonald's USA, in an open letter dated Tuesday. “This is inaccurate. And for a brand that proudly serves nearly 90% of the U.S. population every year, we feel a responsibility to ensure the real facts are available.”

“I can tell you that it frustrates and concerns me, and many of our franchisees, when I hear of an $18 Big Mac meal being sold – even if it was at one U.S. location out of more than 13,700 ” continued Erlinger. “More worrying, however, is when people believe this is the rule and not the exception, or when people start suggesting that Big Mac prices have risen 100% since 2019.”

The company responded viral posts on social media and media reports have exaggerated the price increases, according to The Associated Press.

“Inflationary pressures have hit all sectors of the economy, including ours. Our franchisees (who own and operate more than 95% of all restaurants in the U.S.) set menu prices for their restaurants, which accounts for the higher costs of running their business,” Erlinger continued. “They are working hard to minimize the impact of price increases on our fans. This includes the daily prices on the menu boards of our restaurants and special limited-time offers.”

However, inflation may not be the only economic pressure the fast food giant is currently concerned about. McDonald's said in a fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 report published in February that sales in its operations in the licensed markets, which include most locations in the Middle East, were down just 0.7 percent last quarter increased. It said the low number reflects “the impact of the war” between Israel and Hamas.

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said in an earnings call at the time that his company witnessed the “most pronounced impact” in the Middle East, alongside other Muslim countries including Indonesia and Malaysia.

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