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Here's How Much Fast Food Prices Have Really Gone Up, New Data Shows

Find out exactly how much four of the most popular chains have increased the cost of their items.

Fast food was once seen as the most affordable option for dining out. But in today's economy, even fast food no longer looks all that budget-friendly, as five-dollar footlongs and dollar menus have become a thing of the past. In fact, FinanceBuzz reports that these restaurants have increased their prices by 60 percent on average over the last decade—which is nearly double the overall national rate of inflation of 31 percent during the same time period, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And this change hasn't been lost on consumers. All across social media, people have been speaking out over the noticeable difference. As one X user lamented in a recent post, "Fast food ain't cheap no more… Everything is ridiculously expensive."

"I don't eat fast food like that anymore," another person posted on X. "Not that I'm too good for it, it's just so expensive now I might as well spend an extra dollar or two and get a real meal."

In fact, a May 2024 survey from LendingTree discovered that 78 percent of U.S. consumers now consider fast food a luxury because of its increasing cost, and 62 percent said they're eating less of it as a result.

"The whole conceit was that you were getting some OK-level of food for a low price and you could get it quick," Virginia resident Kevin Roberts recently told CBS News. "Now I can't justify the expense. If I'm paying $15 for a burger and fry and drink and it's McDonalds quality, forget about it—I'm going home."

But just how bad have things gotten? Read on to discover exactly how much fast food prices have gone up at four of the most well-known restaurant chains.

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body If You Eat Fast Food Once a Week.


Woman Drinking McDonalds Shake

McDonald's might be the worst offender out of all of the fast food restaurants. The chain had an overall average price increase of 100 percent since 2014, with some items more than doubling in cost over the last 10 years, according to Finance Buzz.

But the biggest mark-ups at McDonald's may have only come within the last five years. TheStreet reports that while a cheeseburger from this fast-food restaurant was only $1 at the end of 2019, its current price is $3.15—an increase of 215 percent. Similarly, the McChicken was $1.29 at the end of 2019 and is now $3.89, an increase of 201.6 percent.

RELATED: Vera Wang Eats McDonald's "Every Day"—Here's How She Still Stays Fit at 74.

Burger King

the exterior of a Burger King restaurant
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Burger King, which is one of McDonald's most notable competitors, is also more expensive, although this chain's markup is slightly less egregious than that of its Golden Arch-nemesis. According to Finance Buzz, the average prices for Burger King menu items have only risen by 55 percent in the last decade.

Of course, that's still significant, and the increase is highlighted even more when you look at individual items. As TheStreet shows, the price of a Bacon Double Cheeseburger from Burger King increased by 117.9 percent from 2019 to today, from $2.29 to $4.99. The chain's popular Whopper has also been marked up 85.9 percent in that same time, from $4.19 to $7.79.

Taco Bell

the exterior of a Taco Bell
JJava Designs / Shutterstock

Thinking about switching from burgers to tacos? Well, it won't save you from fast food inflation. Next to Mcdonald's, Taco Bell is one of the chains that has raised prices the most over the last 10 years at an increase of 81 percent, Finance Buzz reported.

According to the financial news source, the largest markup at Taco Bell can be seen with its Beefy 5-Layer Burrito. The average cost of this item was $1.59 in 2014. But today, it'll cost you $3.69, a 132 percent increase.

RELATED: Walmart Accused of "Price Gouging" Great Value Products by Ex-Government Official.


the exterior of a Subway restaurant
24K-Production / Shutterstock

With the disappearance of the $5 footlong, it's no secret that prices have increased at Subway. But this fast food chain has actually seen one of the lowest increases over the last 10 years, as it has only raised prices by an average of 39 percent, according to Finance Buzz.

Still, it's hard to see exactly how much you are paying for the same sub now compared to what you paid even just five years ago. The StarTribune reports that a Meatball Marinara Footlong and a BLT Footlong were both only $5.50 in 2019. But now? The Meatball Marinara Footlong costs $7.29, and the BLT Footlong will run you $8.49.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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