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Insight of the Day: Too much for a cheeseburger? Breaking down the increase in fast food prices

Key Takeaways: Fast Food Prices Soar Over a Decade

  • Fast Food Inflation Exceeds Overall Inflation: Limited-service restaurant prices have increased 47% in a decade, surpassing the 33% overall inflation rate.

  • Cheeseburger Combo Price Hikes: The cost of cheeseburger combo meals at popular fast-food chains has nearly doubled since 2014, with some exceeding 100% increase.

  • In-N-Out's Smaller Increase: In-N-Out's Double-Double combo, despite being the most expensive in 2014, now boasts the smallest price jump at 55%.

  • Competition with Other Restaurants: Fast food prices are rising to the point of competing with sit-down restaurants, as seen in Chili's vs. Burger King's Whopper combo pricing.

Summary:

Fast food prices have significantly outpaced overall inflation in the past decade, with the cost of a cheeseburger combo meal nearly doubling at some chains. While this average increase hides even more significant jumps in specific items, the trend indicates that fast food is no longer the budget-friendly option it once was. This price surge is now putting fast food in direct competition with sit-down restaurants, challenging the traditional perception of fast food as a cheaper alternative. In-N-Out stands out with a smaller price increase, but the overall trend indicates a substantial shift in the affordability of fast food.

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