Floridians who grew up decades ago may remember a time when fast food restaurants were considered a way to eat on the cheap. You could often get a full meal for under $5, but now you are arguably lucky if you can get some meals for under $10.
Florida's "Favorite" Fast Food Joint: In World Population's Review's 2023 list of popular fast food by state, it is revealed that Florida's "favorite" is McDonald's followed by Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.
Increased Earnings and Menu Price Increases: McDonald's recently reported earnings, and the company beat Wall Street estimates but mentioned that it would have to counter the wage hikes by raising some menu prices, according to Reuters.
According to Business Insider, the company expects to raise menu prices by about 10% for 2023 - after the company had a similar increase in 2022.
Some Floridians Are Unhappy About Seeing Higher Prices: In a forum for people living in the Villages in Florida, one person posted in November of 2023:
"Less than 3 weeks ago, I bought a large coke for $1.59. Today, it was $2.69 for a large, and a small was $1.89. That is about a 70% increase in less than 3 weeks. Is there a sugar shortage or was there an increase in the minimum wage?Hopefully, other restaurants don’t follow along."
Some posters agreed with the original poster, with one respondent committing that he no longer goes to McDonald's because the original poster was "absolutely right" about the rising prices.
The Claims of a $18 Big Mac Meal: According to Newsweek and The New York Post, customers in Darien, Connecticut are reportedly paying $18 for a Big Mac Meal, although McDonald's says the national average is only $8.64.
The Price of a Big Mac Meal In Florida: According to Expatistan with data reportedly updated in November of 2023, a Big Mac Meal purchased in Orlando is $11, which is much lower than the alleged $18 Bic Mac Meal in Connecticut.
Pricing Varies By Market, According to McDonald's: Floridians wondering about McDonald's raising prices may be interested in a recent article from The Street. Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski clarified that prices and "affordability" varied by market, explaining:
"How we do it varies by market. So I wouldn't give you a generalized statement about how we approach value. It's up to each market to think about how they continue to deliver the customer great value."
Kempczinski also said that despite any price increases, McDonald's still offers "value" offerings to keep prices low for some items, such as the four-piece chicken McNuggets.
The Street noted that McDonald's pricing is not unlike that of gas stations - where prices are higher in places with higher rents and higher labor costs.
Indepently-Owned Florida Businesses: Another thing to keep in mind is that Florida does have some mom-and-pop, independently owned local restaurants that have low prices which are competitive with fast food joints. Examples are Andy's Drive-In - which you can find in Winter Haven and Gilbert's in Fort Lauderdale, to name just a few examples.
So if you are a Floridian who wants something from one of McDonald's over 800 Florida stores, it might be a mistake to assume that you'll automatically see higher prices, since McDonald's has recently clarified that prices will vary by market.
The author is not affiliated with McDonald's or any other restaurants.