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    Tuesday, April 16, 2024

    In Conn., Big Macs reach $17. McDonald's CEO: 'Affordability' is coming to menus.

    In the landscape of rising fast food prices, the CEO of McDonald's has announced the company is making affordability a priority in 2024. On a Feb. 5 earnings call, McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said that the company would focus on adjusting prices as they noticed that consumers are preferring to eat at home, especially those individuals making $45,000 or less, he said.

    "The battleground is certainly with that low-income consumer. And 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 said, according to a transcript of the call, adding that he believes "absolute price point" to be more important to consumers than "value."

    The high McDonald's prices in Connecticut have garnered the attention of national outlets including CBS, Entrepreneur, Yahoo and New York Post. Prices pointed out in national outlets came from highway rest stops, which often exceed the cost of traditional McDonald's restaurants. In late March of last year, a Big Mac combo meal was $16.89 at an Interstate 95 service station in Darien. The service station menu showed prices for other sandwich and burger meals that reached to more than $18.

    As of Feb. 23, a Big Mac combo meal at that same rest stop is priced at $17.59 on the McDonald's app, and that same meal at a nearby McDonald's at 726 Connecticut Ave. in Norwalk is priced at $9.99.

    Last March, the price of a Big Mac meal in Connecticut drew ire on TikTok after a user posted a video of the menu that featured the $16.89 price tag; as of Feb. 23, the video has 23,300 likes. Last month, a post on X (formerly Twitter) went viral after it showed that a customer paid $7.29 for one McDonald's Egg McMuffin at the Fairfield Service Plaza on I-95. According to Newsweek, an average McMuffin costs $4.29.

    The company's fourth-quarter report for 2023 was released earlier this month, detailing a mixed bag of results for McDonald's. The company reported that despite global sales growing nine percent year-over-year, its international developmental licensed markets, its division overseeing 80 markets globally, marginally grew, with the company pointing to conflict in the Middle East as a reason for this slow growth, the report notes. Sales in the U.S. only grew 4.3 percent in 2023 versus 10.3 percent growth in 2022.

    Additional reporting by Joseph Tucci.

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