McDonald’s CEO speaks out after ‘outrageous’ prices spark backlash

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The CEO of McDonald’s has spoken out after customers slammed the fast food restaurant for hiking up its menu prices.

Fans of the burger restaurant have been taking to social media to voice their frustration with its increased prices in recent weeks, with customers sharing receipts to back up their arguments.

McDonald’s explains on its website that its franchises can set their own prices, but this can lead to unavoidable inflation in line with increasing costs and high-demand.

In the wake of the backlash, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski spoke about the impacts of the price hikes as he revealed a decrease in sales.

Where Wall Street had predicted a growth in sales of 4.7 percent in the last quarter, sales for McDonald’s actually grew just 3.4 percent.

McDonald’s cited conflict in the Middle East as one of the reasons for the slow quarter, saying it had impacted franchises oversees – though Kempczinski made clear that cost was also a factor as he pointed to a plan to focus on ‘affordability’ this year.

McDonalds reported a decrease in sales. Credit: Pixabay
McDonalds reported a decrease in sales. Credit: Pixabay

Speaking in an earnings call with analysts conducted on Monday (5 February), the CEO said: “I think what you’re going to see as you head into 2024 is probably more attention to what I would describe as affordability.”

Kempczinski revealed that low income customers making less than $45,000 per year are now ordering less from McDonald’s, instead choosing to eat at home more as the cost of groceries decreases.

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

However, the company’s chief financial officer, Ian Borden, told analysts: “We do not expect to see meaningful improvement until there is a resolution in the Middle East.”

McDonald's has hinted at 'affordability'. Credit: Pexels
McDonald’s has hinted at ‘affordability’. Credit: Pexels

Though McDonald’s will do what it can to make its restaurants more attractive to all customers, restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowski expressed belief there will still be price hikes for menu items.

Speaking to The New York Post, Kalinowski suggested prices could increase at a slower pace of 2 to 3 percent over the next year while McDonald’s aims to attract customers with targeted deals on its mobile app.

“App discounts will be a big part of their arsenal,” he said.

The update on McDonald’s last quarter resulted in a drop in its share prices on Monday (5 February), when it dropped nearly 4 percent to $285.97.

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