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The North Star Online

The official news site of J.W. North High School

The North Star Online

The official news site of J.W. North High School

The North Star Online

Fast Food Inflation Rising Faster Than Fast Food Services

Sonia Acedo-Lopez
A drawing that resembles how fast food prices are rising faster than fast food services

“Ten dollars?!” you may have heard someone say this; perhaps your mom, once she sees the price of a cheeseburger at a popular fast food restaurant. This may or may not lead to her saying how she is spending too much money to feed you a cheeseburger that is full of junk, ranting about how much cheaper fast food used to be, and how it is only getting more expensive. Regardless of how upset your mom may be about fast food prices, she is right. Fast food, an American tradition, is slowly becoming a luxury.

 Fast food inflation has been getting worse over the years. There are several reasons why the prices of fast food are increasing. 

One of those reasons is because companies are raising how much their workers are paid. Some workers are being paid twenty dollars or a lower an hour as opposed to how much workers used to be paid, which was around fifteen dollars. 

A great fact to mention is how under a new bill, most of California’s 500,000 fast food employees will be paid at least $20 an hour MINIMUM in 2024. While fast food employees will expect $20 an hour in 2024, a separate bill will increase health care workers wages to around $25 an hour over the next 10 years. (USAToday)

Fast food companies are not benefiting themselves, or their customers. Customers have been choosing cheaper items on fast food menus because of the ridiculous prices of their other items. (CNBC

Fast food is supposed to be cheaper than going to a sit-down restaurant, but it seems like both kinds of places cost around the same. Four fast-food restaurants that sell cheeseburgers have an average of $5.97, or practically $6.00.  However, when looking at some U.S sit-down restaurants, the cheeseburgers sold there have an average of 9.40 USD. The average price of cheeseburgers from fast food restaurants and sit-down restaurants have close prices.

There is a law in California that has the chance to make it illegal for restaurants and bars to charge diners mandatory service fees. (EATER) This means that this new law could no longer have workers at restaurants forcing you to tip them. Because of this, inflation will only get worse with not having restaurants force people to tip. 

 There is only a difference of around $3, which may sound like a lot, but it is not when it comes to the quality of cheeseburgers. 

Sit-down restaurants tend to have higher quality, such as healthier food that also tastes better than fast food restaurants, while fast food restaurants’ food quality is lower. Food at sit-down restaurants are fresh, and the fresher something is, it is usually healthier. Fast food restaurants add extra fat and preservatives. (McCraysTavern) Sit-down restaurants have more pros in general too, healthier food, food that is freshly made, and because of inflation, fast food prices are almost matching sit-down restaurant prices. So in reality, with those facts in mind, sit-down restaurants are the better choice when compared to fast food restaurants. 

Meals at popular fast-food companies used to be much cheaper than they are now. In 1960, the average cost of a fast-food burger was only $0.21. In 1967, the price then increased a cent higher. Skipping to 1980, the price of a burger shot up to around $0.40. The prices slowly increased over the years, now the price for a cheeseburger alone is around six dollars. The prices have drastically changed, and you can only imagine how much more the prices will rise in another fifteen years.

In reality, who would pay around $10 for a normal meal at a fast-food restaurant? It is not of the highest quality and is not very healthy in the first place. A full meal at a sit-down restaurant is around fifteen dollars, with usually higher quality, as explained earlier, healthier food, and food that tastes better because it is fresh. Comparing both of these prices, you might as well get a meal at a sit-down restaurant. The prices are only going to get higher due to fast food inflation, which will cause even more decline in profit. 

“I would rather order a $9 Cheeseburger at a better restaurant because it’s going to offer me more quality and nutrition versus a fast food restaurant where I wouldn’t be paying a lot of money. But it won’t be up to par with the quality,” freshman Zoey Feist says.

The popular fast food companies have no idea how much they are risking losing their customers. Customers have not been going to eat at fast food places as much because of their insane prices. 

“….I’m sure people would not be eating fast food as much since the prices are rising,” says junior Jasmine Ortega.

According to  QSR Magazine, “Over the last few years, the quick-service restaurant industry has experienced a decline in profit margins, which has significantly impacted both quick-serve brands and franchise operations”.

Inflation has had a serious impact on our everyday lives, which includes the prices we pay for it, and the health we are risking for it. With prices of ingredients and labor, fast food in general so they can profit, inflation has shot up. Customers should think about when deciding where to eat when it involves how much fast food will or has consumed their wallet and their health. The rising cost of eating fast food is a struggle, but it is important to think about where you eat and how much you spend on simple food.

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Sonia Acedo-Lopez, Reporter

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