There’s a New Most Expensive Fast Food Chain

Fast food has always been synonymous with cheap eats, but after last year’s rampant inflation, that might not be so much the case. Fast food inflation rose at a higher clip than even groceries, which jumped by about 12% from November 2021 to 2022. Across the board, fast food restaurants raised menu prices by nearly 13%, according to Pricelisto, a website that tracks menu prices for US fast food chains. And some chains were bigger offenders than others.

Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A saw the highest inflation in 2022 

McDonald’s managed to lower menu prices during 2022, according to Pricelisto’s findings. 


Oliver Berg/dpa/Corbis

Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A saw the highest price hikes per meal last year, with Chick-fil-A ballooning 15.6% from 2021 to an average meal cost of $4.65. Prices at Wendy’s, another fast food fan favorite, shot up almost double that, with 35% inflation from the previous year. 

With its jump, Wendy’s overtook Burger King as the most expensive fast food chain with average meals clocking in at $6.63. Taco Bell was another chain that passed inflation costs onto customers, hiking prices on its budget-friendly “Mexican fare” by 14.6% across the menu. 

But it wasn’t all bad news for dollar menu hounds in 2022. Burger King increased menu prices by only 2%, according to Pricelisto, while McDonald’s actually managed to decrease menu prices by 5% in 2022 versus 2021.  

Some fast food items went up in price while others got cheaper

chicken fries

Burger King’s chicken fries saw the biggest price hike of any single menu item tracked by Pricelisto in 2022.


Burger King

Inflation for individual menu items was a bit scattershot. Chicken, particularly breaded chicken, saw a serious shortage in 2021, which helps explain why Burger King’s chicken fries were the single most inflated menu item in the fast food world. This was followed by Chick-fil-A’s grilled chicken sandwich, which shot up 10% in 2022. 

On the flip side, Wendy’s Baconator actually dropped in price by $2.51, a shocker when you consider the high cost of bacon in recent years (although it’s since come back down). McDonald’s iconic — and perhaps overrated — french fries also dropped by an average of $0.09 over the course of the year.

Fast food inflation by item

Chain Menu item Price (Sept ’21) Price (May ’22) Price (Oct ’22) Price difference
McDonalds Big Mac 5.30 5.58 5.47 0.17
French Fries 2.34 2.49 2.25 -0.09
Egg McMuffin 4.21 4.46 4.43 0.22
Double Cheeseburger 2.91 3.28 2.88 -0.03
McChicken 1.97 2.33 2.01 0.04
Quarter Pounder 5.44 5.70 5.58 0.14
Burger King Whopper 6.07 4.61 5.80 -0.27
Double Whopper 7.42 5.56 7.03 -0.39
Chicken Fries 3.97 4.09 4.64 0.67
Original Chicken Sandwich 5.89 3.71 5.40 -0.49
Whopper Jr 2.97 2.34 2.81 -0.16
Wendy’s Baconator 12.13 12.74 9.62 -2.51
Spicy Chicken Sandwich 6.45 6.71 6.33 -0.12
Dave’s Single 5.99 6.35 6.31 0.32
Dave’s Double 7.33 7.74 7.69 0.36
Double Stack 3.35 3.66 3.22 -0.13
Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich 4.96 5.62 5.47 0.51
Grilled Chicken Sandwich 6.57 7.32 7.23 0.66
Hash Browns 1.63 1.89 1.81 0.18
Chick-N-Minis 5.31 5.65 4.63 -0.68
Egg White Grill 3.65 4.00 4.10 0.45

Source: Pricelisto.com

If you’ve been trying to eat less greasy fast food, consider this an excuse. To help, we’ve rounded up the best places to find affordable organic groceries online and the best healthy meal delivery services for 2023.

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