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Fast food a ‘luxury’ for 78% of Americans: Survey

  • 78% of respondents told LendingTree that they consider fast food a “luxury item.”

  • Even more people who earn less than $30,000 a year and those with children agreed – over 80%.

  • Further frustrating consumers is the fact that fast food prices have outpaced general inflation since 2014.

(News Nation) — Drive-thru dining should feel like a faster, cheaper option than cooking your own food, but a new survey from LendingTree is the latest to show that Americans aren’t feeling that way right now.

78% of respondents told LendingTree They consider fast food a “luxury item.” Even more people who earn less than $30,000 a year and those with children agreed – over 80%.

Half of the respondents said they consider it a luxury because they are struggling financially.

Fast food prices are rising faster than inflation

Further frustrating consumers is the fact that fast food prices have outpaced general inflation since 2014.

FinanceBuzz recently discovered Popeyes (+86%), Taco Bell (+81%), Chipotle (+75%) and Jimmy John’s (+62%) have also raised prices much faster than the rate of inflation over the past decade.

But the biggest price increase has been at McDonald’s, with prices up 100% since 2014.

Fast food franchises are facing rising labor costs, California raises minimum wage for fast food restaurantspushing up prices.

How are fast food companies responding?

McDonald’s has reportedly begun work on a new $5 value menu item. Bloomberg and CNBCThe $5 meal reportedly includes four items: a McChicken or McDouble sandwich, four Chicken McNuggets, fries and a drink. Burger King is developing a similar menuAccording to Fox Business. Wendy’s also offers a $3 breakfast option..

But they will also be looking for ways to preserve profit margins in ways that were once unthinkable. McDonald’s is sticking to plans to remove self-serve soft-drink fountains from its restaurants by the start of the next decade, allowing franchisees to charge for refills if they choose.

Analysts also believe that self-ordering kiosks and automation behind the counter will be essential to keeping prices stable.

“We’re already seeing kiosk ordering in a variety of locations,” franchise consultant Nick Neonakis told NewsNation. “Behind the lines where food is made, what we’re going to see next is robots flipping burgers, robots making fries, etc.”


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