Inflation comes for the Big Mac
Rising prices are hitting Americans where it hurts: the drive-thru.
Driving the news: Fast food menu prices are up 7.2% year-over-year, according to a report released this week by the National Restaurant Association. That's the biggest jump since 1981.
- Prices at full-service restaurants are even higher — they've gone up 8%, the biggest jump of any restaurant category.
Ballooning menu prices are being driven by the rising cost of food and labor, according to the report.
- It cites a 15.1% year-over-year increase in the Producer Price Index, which measures the cost of domestic goods, as well as a 12.1% increase in average hourly earnings for restaurant employees.
🍔 The Big (Mac) picture: McDonald's did not respond to requests for comment, but data from the Big Mac Index — which has been measuring the price of a Big Mac since the year the Oprah Winfrey Show debuted — shows that the price of a Big Mac nationwide rose 7% from 2020 to 2021.
- Big Mac prices have risen by a whopping 40% in the past 10 years, according to the index.
Zoom in: Menu prices vary across the country, and even within cities.
- So we decided to make our own Big Mac Index, showing the price of McD's flagship burger in all of our Axios Local cities — the 14 current ones and our 11 coming-soon ones, including my own.
- And we compared those prices to each town's minimum wage.
Details: Austin, Texas —where the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour — is home to the cheapest Big Mac in the Axios Local world at $3.75;
- But 200 miles down the road, Dallas — with the same minimum wage — a Big Mac is selling for $5.69.
- Seattle, Wash. — where the minimum wage is $17.27 an hour — has the priciest Big Mac we found, at $6.39.
And in the most expensive cities in the country:
- A Big Mac in San Francisco, where the minimum wage is $16.32 an hour, is $5.79
- In New York, where the minimum wage is $15 an hour, a Big Mac can be found on Broadway for $4.95
- But in my town of Richmond, Va. — where the minimum wage is $11 an hour — I'm paying $4.89 for a Big Mac — just 10 cents less than folks in New. York. City. And I'm furious about it.
🍟 Reality check: These prices are for the burger-only — no fries. So what's the point?