The glory days of the McDonald’s dollar menu was a great time to be alive. The coveted menu had everything from French fries to McFlurries priced at just a single dollar. It was a masterpiece for the midnight snacker and a lifesaver for the starving college student. The success of the McDonald’s dollar menu eventually bred dozens of copycats, all of which served to ultimately benefit the consumer. However, it looks like the days of dollar menus are now numbered.
Dollar Menus have been changing on the down-low for quite some time now, but Food & Wine says the reason they are getting pushed out in a bigger hurry now is largely due to rapid inflation. Restaurants in almost every sector of the industry are feeling its effects. Dollar menus going the way of the dodo have been particularly prevalent amongst pizza chains and parlors. Both Little Cesar’s and Domino’s made sweeping changes to their cost-cutting options. Even the staple $1 slice found on every corner in New York City has been disappearing faster than you can whip out your cash.
According to the Wall Street Journal, fast-food giants like McDonald’s and Burger King are also not hesitating to ax their dollar deals. McDonald’s is phasing out its “$1 for any beverage” promotions, which was one of the last true dollar menu items that the mega-chain had left standing. Denny’s, king of casual dollar dining, has also dropped most of its value options, including the ever-popular $2 to $8 menu.
The dollar menu phase-outs and ever-increasing prices are due to the fact that businesses are feeling the weight of the economy’s sustaining inflation issues. The consumer price index reached a concerning 40-year high in December. This is problematic for wholesalers and producers all the way down to the end consumer because when wholesalers increase their prices it creates an inevitable trickle-down effect that touches every piece of the supply chain. In fact, as dollar menus rapidly disappear and prices continue to surge upwards of 7% across the board, many CEOs have asserted that they are genuinely concerned for the future of their companies.
The death of the dollar menu is not something unique to just restaurants either. Businesses across all sectors of commerce have been revising their price structures. In fact, in Dollar Tree’s case, they are editing their entire business model. This sweeping change has customers up in arms and has already cost the discount chain to lose many of its dedicated patrons.
Ultimately, the disappearance of the dollar menu combined with the fact that businesses are scrambling to restructure in an effort to stay afloat amid an intense inflationary period is indicative of the greater state of the economy as a whole. Dollar menus dying out are simply a symptom of a larger societal struggle. A struggle that involves a wide majority of individuals clamoring to find ways to afford exacerbated living costs and businesses desperately searching for ways to absorb rising prices that could put their end profit margins in serious jeopardy. Essentially, as the nation says goodbye to dollar menus, it might also want to say good luck to the economy as a whole.