Customers Are Furious as McDonald’s $5 Meal Deal is Surprisingly Expensive

By: Georgia | Published: Jun 27, 2024

Customers are in an uproar as McDonald’s “$5 meal deal” is found costing up to $13 in some places. 

Despite launching this summer offer as a budget-friendly option, the reality was quite different, leaving many to voice their discontent vividly online.

Expectations vs. Reality

The deal was supposed to include favorites like a McChicken or McDouble, with sides and a drink for just five dollars. 

Two McDonald's burgers in open boxes, showing the sesame seed buns and lettuce, served on a tray

Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, screenshots from disappointed customers show prices soaring much higher, igniting a frenzy on social media.


Social Media Erupts Over Misleading Pricing

Posts from frustrated diners started flooding platforms like X, formerly Twitter, with one customer, Pete Macy, expressing shock as his meal cost more than double the promised price. 

Exterior view of a McDonald's restaurant at night, illuminated by lights with the golden arches logo visible

Source: Visual Karsa/Unsplash

This led to a rapid response from McDonald’s, which began addressing grievances online.

McDonald's Investigates Pricing Discrepancies

Amidst the chaos, McDonald’s has started probing into why the prices at various locations have deviated from the national campaign. 

Close-up of a hand holding a red carton of McDonald's French fries

Source: Mak/Unsplash

They’ve made it clear to franchisees that adherence to advertised prices isn’t optional.

Customer Outrage Captured in Real-Time

Macy didn’t hold back.

A complete McDonald's meal on a tray, including fries, burgers in wrappers, and a drink

Source: Alia/Unsplash

He posted, ‘Shout out to McDonalds for offering a $5 meal deal for a mere $13,’ showcasing the surprising checkout total with a screenshot that quickly went viral.

Not Isolated Incidents: More Reports Flood In

Meghan Porro also voiced her disbelief, noting her “deal” came out to $6.29 before tax. 

Interior view of a McDonald's restaurant, showing a customer standing at the counter with a young man in a McDonald's uniform visible through the reflective glass

Source: Jayana Rashintha/Unsplash

Her frustration was palpable as she highlighted the false advertising issue with her own receipt screenshot as evidence.


Calls for Explanation Over $5 Meal Deal

The grievances kept coming as another customer questioned the integrity of the deal: ‘why is this even called a $5 meal deal when it’s $6.30 McDonalds. I’m sick of y’all.’ 

A vibrant display of McDonald's menu items, including a variety of burgers, donuts, and drinks with calorie counts and pricing, presented on digital screens

Source: Erik Mclean/Unsplash

This post, too, included a snapshot of the price at checkout.


The Underlying Causes of Price Variation

It turns out, the unexpected price points, like $6.30 and beyond, could be due to McDonald’s allowing certain high-cost locations to charge more. 

View of a McDonald's restaurant located at an urban intersection with palm trees, under a cloudy sky

Source: Roman Lopez/Unsplash

This policy, however, has not quelled the disappointment and confusion among customers.


A Glimmer of Hope for Deal Seekers

Despite the backlash, some customers have managed to snag the deal at the expected price. 

Bright and clear blue sky behind the iconic McDonald's golden arches sign, prominently advertising the restaurant below.

Source: iStrfry , Marcus/Unsplash

Jimmy Chonga shared, ‘Just got my $5 meal deal not too long ago. I’m lovin’ it,’ thanking McDonald’s and hoping the deal extends through the summer.


McDonald's Financial Success Amid Pricing Critique

In the backdrop of these pricing issues, it’s notable that McDonald’s reported a staggering $14.5 billion profit last year. 

A close-up shot of a hand holding a red carton of McDonald's French fries

Source: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

This highlights the contrast between corporate profits and customer perceptions of value.


McDonald's Battles Negative Price Perceptions

McDonald’s USA President Joe Erlinger responded to price hike criticisms with an open letter last month.

A minimalist design of McDonald's golden arches against a blue sky, mounted on a modern horizontal wooden slat background

Source: Andrii Kordis/Unsplash

He stated that prices had only risen by 40% since the pandemic started, which he suggests isn’t as drastic as portrayed by some media.


Future of the $5 Meal Deal

The $5 deal’s future hangs in the balance as McDonald’s reassesses its strategy. 

"A McDonald's cheeseburger unwrapped and displayed on branded paper, highlighting the melted cheese on a beef patty inside a soft bun

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The promotion is set to continue briefly, offering a crucial period for McDonald’s to restore faith among its customer base and possibly adjust its pricing policies.