Price increases for fast food and an increase in minimum wage is changing how customers order.

Saying that fast food prices have slightly increased would be an understatement. Price increases have led to backlash from customers and an increase in minimum wage for their employees. Fast food restaurants’ accessibility, numerous locations and reasonable prices have traditionally made them an easy fix for hunger. Now, it is harder to find a cheaper alternative.

Despite the increase in prices, fast food corporations offer an upside to this, increasing the minimum wage for fast food employees from $16 to $20 in the state of California. 

For example, the price of a “McDouble” from McDonald’s cost roughly $3.29 in 2023 while the price for the same item in 2024 has increased slowly but surely to $3.65, not including tax. 

“If low-wage workers experience an increase in income due to a minimum wage hike, they may have more disposable income to spend. This can boost consumer spending, which may benefit businesses, especially those in industries catering to lower-income consumers,” stated Justin Rush, a financial planner from North Carolina. 

With prices increasing for fast food menu items, deals on respective loyalty apps are offered to retain and establish new customers. With the ability to have the food delivered directly to you, pricing within these apps tends to be more expensive than simply going to the restaurant in person with delivery fees and tipping the driver. 

This method of ordering is encouraged not only for deals but for convenience as well with the alternative of paying online and picking up an order. 

“I have 30 different food apps downloaded and it’s been at least four years since I’ve paid full price for any chain restaurant meal, If the app doesn’t have a deal, I don’t eat there.” A Reddit user posted a year ago sharing their opinions. 

The continuous use of the mobile app allows companies to gather more intricate customer data. Promotions can benefit from this as continuous orders of a certain item will provide the option to prompt it to your order or even offer a personalized discount on that specific item. 

Customers’ reasons for ordering through their mobile app consist of collecting points, ordering ahead, getting delivery and receiving personalized discounts. 

Even with the ability to order food through a fast food’s mobile app, delivery apps such as Uber Eats and DoorDash remain relevant and are used just as frequently. 

Wendy’s recently received backlash for their surge pricing operation. 

With the ultimate goal of having lower prices, the reason behind the decision was related to the fact that there would be higher prices included as well. With prices varying at different times of the day, customers will be both attracted to and repelled by these locations. 

Since the backlash, the fast food chain has retaliated, claiming that the reason for these precautions ultimately benefits the pay of their workers and offers customers discounts during slower hours of the restaurant. 

“It gives the feeling that we’re being manipulated a little bit more than we think we need to be,” Columbia University professor Stephan Zager claimed. 

Preferences for ordering food will always change, whether its price, location, or coupon, methods of ordering something to eat will remain to expand and tailor to customers’ fittings.