McDonald's CEO says fast food chain will focus on affordability amid outrage over menu hikes

Customers have blasted the fast-food giant in recent months amid a spike in menu prices, including a nearly $18 Big Mac combo

The CEO of McDonald's admitted Monday that the sales for the fast food giant have dipped amid increased menu prices that have not gone unnoticed by customers. 

The Chicago-based chain has taken heavy criticism over its Big Mac combo that is priced at nearly $18, among other menu hikes, and has promised to focus on affordability, the New York Post reported. 

"I think what you’re going to see as you head into 2024 is probably more attention to what I would describe as affordability," McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said on an earnings call with analysts.

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Some global same-store sales grew by 3.4%, short of the 4.7% that was expected by Wall Street. In addition, some low-income customers have stopped patronizing the chain as inflation has caused prices to jump, Kempczinski said.

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Big Mac

Big Mac is seen on a restaurant table in this illustration photo taken. In some regions, a Big Mac combo has increased to nearly $18 amid high inflation.  (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images / Fox News)

"Eating at home has become more affordable," Kempczinski said. "The battleground is certainly with that low-income consumer." 

Prices at McDonald's are still expected to increase at a slower pace, restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowski told The Post.

Last week, a McDonald’s location in Connecticut was criticized after a customer was charged $7.29 for an Egg McMuffin and nearly $5.69 for a side of hash browns. The franchise in Darien, Connecticut was called out for charging $17.59 for a Big Mac combo. 

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Fast food prices in general could climb even higher as minimum wage hikes go into effect across the country. In California, many fast food workers will earn $20 per hour beginning April 1. 

McDonald's and Chipotle have signaled that prices will have to increase in response to the high labor costs.