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How Much Have McDonalds Prices Increased Over The Years?

Remember the good ol’ days where we could get a cone of $0.50 vanilla ice cream from McDonald’s’ around the neighbourhood? I do, those were some golden times.

I also recall when my brother and I tore out McDonald’s coupons that came in the mail, stashing them away in our wallets just in case we needed a quick $2 Fillet O’ Fish fix after school. But, $2 isn’t the kind of price we can get at Mcdonalds these days, the most basic meals available are value meals at $5.

What astonishes me most is the price of Mcdonald’s new-range, special burger meals today. By this, I mean the new buttermilk crispy chicken selling at $9.50 per meal, the classic Angus cheese at a whopping $11.50 that doesn’t even come with an upsize, and the $9 prosperity feast during Chinese new year. Breaking the tens in prices really makes a statement — Mcdonald’s has long moved past its $1 Cheeseburger days in the nineties.

Today, we discuss and reminisce how much our favourite fast food chain has increased it prices over the years.

Let’s take you back in time, McDonalds’ fan.

Mcdonalds first set its foot in Singapore in the late 1970s, introducing to us the magical world of greasy potato sticks and round angmoh sandwiches that taste sinfully beautiful.

In year 1979, the first Mcdonalds’ shop made its mark at Liat Towers, Orchard road.Credits: Straits Times Article

When it first opened, ‘Hamburgers’, otherwise known as Cheeseburgers without cheese, were sold at $0.80 and Cheeseburgers were sold at $1.10. It is noteworthy though, to know that these were the days when chicken rice was still sold at $1.20 at hawker centres and feeder bus prices were but $0.15. The prices at Mcdonalds’ definitely weren’t cheap and affordable but were still novel and attractive. You know how these golden arches can get so much attention.

Later on in the 1980s, prices increased to about $1.30 for a cheeseburger. If you wanted an upgrade, a big mac was $2.50.

On the topics of Big Macs, if you were chomping down fries since the 80s, you might remember this jingle:

“Two All-Beef Patties Special Sauce Lettuce Cheese Pickles Onion on a Sesame Seed Bun” 

Fun fact, these were the times when KFC was still served on plates with metal utensils.

Fast forward into the 2000s, the basic burger choices at Mcdonalds such as the McChicken were priced at $2 and breakfast sets were also at a similar price. Getting your MacBreakfast weekend morning fix at East Coast Park would be $2 for a Sausage McMuffin with refillable coffee or tea. I must say it is a pretty smart idea to remove hashbrowns from the conventional set, rebranding the new ‘set’ at an affordable price. Adding a hash brown at an additional $1.65 would then make the overall meal more expensive than it was originally. Generally, prices were slowly increasing but still comfortable in the 2000s with many promotions.

In the 2010s, however, price hikes seemed to be more obvious with a new range of burgers and burger ‘upgrades’ such as the Double Fillet O Fish. The double fillet in 2015 was $5.75 a la carte, more than double the price of a $2 Single Fillet at that time. McDonalds was popular for having odd meal pricing, leveraging on the fact that people think meals are generally cheaper. Getting 2 single Fillet O Fish burgers and a meal would actually cheaper than a $7.10 Double Fillet O Fish Meal.

When the samurai burger first made its appearance in Singapore in the year 2012, it was priced at a whopping $7.65 for a meal. The promise of a tender, juicy beef burger drenched in teriyaki sauce made people go crazy for this. At that time, spending almost $8 for a McDonald’s meal was definitely an expensive move when you could still get a pretty larger McSpicy burger at only $3.

In summary, the 2010s was an age of new burgers that were highly priced as premium meals and the demise of any set meal below $5.

Today At McDonald’s

In 2018, a tiny McChicken burger bought a la carte is priced at $3.95 and McDonald meals above $10 actually exist.

Here’s how much your McDonalds’ favourites cost today, and what it can alternatively buy you.

McDonalds FavouritesPrice (April 2018)What you could alternatively buy
McSpicy Meal Upsized$8.154 Gardenia Loaves of Bread
Fillet O' Fish Meal$6.352 Fishball Noodles
McNuggets Ala Carte (9pc)$6.551 Whole Black Pepper Chicken at Cold Storage
(New!) Classic Angus Cheese Meal$11.50Add $2 for a $13.50 Prime Sirloin with 2 sides at Astons
Grilled Chicken McWrap Meal$7.952 Chicken Rice (+ add chicken)

Why The High Prices?

Of course, price increases can be mainly attributed to food price inflation. Food price inflation came in at 1.4 percent in Singapore last year. This though is still acceptable if compared with countries like Hong Kong where food inflation is at about 3.9 and Malaysia at 3.0.

In America, the increase in the minimum wage in certain areas and the increase in commodity prices has inevitably led to an increase in overall prices in McDonald’s around the world too.

Has all of this stopped people from eating at McDonald’s? I would think largely no. Despite health and wallet repercussions, people seem to be fiercely dedicated to burgers and fries.

Jaded? At least you can save lots of money by jumping onto the newest trend that is meal preps.

Bonus: If you made it down here, here’s a blast from the past

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