Rising Inflation Drives Up Fast Food Meal Prices in the U.S.

Inflation in the United States is leading to increased prices across various sectors, including fast food. A recent report by personal finance site MoneyGeek analyzed the rising costs of a burger, fries, and soda meal at popular fast food chains between 2022 and 2024. The study utilized data from Allmenus and Grubhub for the highest revenue burger restaurants.

According to the report, Five Guys emerged as the most expensive burger chain, with the average price of a meal reaching $20.84 in 2024. This marked a 14% increase from 2022 when the same meal cost $18.33. Notably, Five Guys gained attention earlier this year when a receipt showing a $24 bill for a cheeseburger, fries, and soda went viral.

While Five Guys had the highest prices, Wendy’s experienced the largest percentage increase in meal prices, rising by 32% from $9.41 to $12.41 over the two-year period. In response to the study, a Wendy’s spokesperson highlighted the company’s commitment to offering affordable options for cost-conscious customers.

Other burger chains included in the report, such as Jack in the Box, Burger King, and McDonald’s, did not provide comments by the time of publication.

The rising cost of labor and the growing popularity of delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats, which impose fees on fast food chains, are cited as major factors contributing to the overall increase in fast food prices. A separate study by FinanceBuzz revealed that average menu prices in the fast food industry have risen between 39% and 100% from 2014 to 2024, surpassing the 31% inflation rate during the same period, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Greenlight reports that these rising prices are also influenced by the impact of delivery app fees on customers’ bills.

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