McDonald’s plans $5 US meal deal next month to counter customer frustration over high prices

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McDonald’s plans to introduce a $5 meal deal in the U.S. next month to counter slowing sales and customers’ frustration with high prices.

The deal would let customers get a four-piece McNugget, small fries, a small drink and either a McDouble burger or a McChicken sandwich for $5 in most areas, according to a person familiar with the deal who wasn’t authorized to discuss its details.

The month-long deal is scheduled to begin June 25 and will be advertised nationally. Some stores with higher costs, like those in California or Hawaii, may charge more, the person said.

McDonald’s didn’t confirm the upcoming deal when asked about it Thursday by The Associated Press. But the Chicago-based burger giant said last month that it was planning to step up deals to combat slowing customer traffic in some markets.

“We know how much it means to our customers when McDonald’s offers meaningful value and communicates it through national advertising,” McDonald’s said in a statement Wednesday.

The meal deal would be a substantial discount from the list prices for the items that will be included in the limited-time deal. One McDonald’s location in Michigan charged $9.66 for the four items sold individually on Thursday.

Fast food prices have risen dramatically in the last few years due to a variety of factors, including elevated costs for labor, food and paper products. Between the first quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2024, the amount spent per person per visit at a U.S. fast food restaurant rose 25%, from $12 to $15, according to Technomic, a restaurant data firm.

McDonald’s said earlier this year that it was seeing fewer U.S. visits and lower spending from customers earning less than $45,000 per year.

As grocery inflation has slowed, more people are choosing to eat at home, McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski said. In the first quarter, the company said fast food traffic was flat or down in many key markets, including the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

“The consumer is certainly being very discriminating in how they spend their dollar,” Kempczinski said during a conference call with investors. “It may be more pronounced with lower-income consumers, but its important to recognize that all income cohorts are seeking value.”

During the same call, Kempczinski said McDonald’s needed a nationwide deal emphasizing its value if it wanted to keep up with rivals.

Other chains have also reported slowing sales. Starbucks said last month that it was seeing a sharper and faster decline in U.S. consumer confidence than it had anticipated in the January-March period. Starbucks said it plans to open up its Rewards app to non-members in July so they can take advantage of the deals it offers.

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