You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Some dollar-menu items are passing the buck


By Tiffany Hsu

Los Angeles Times

Craving a burger off a fast-food dollar menu? Chances are that it now costs more than a buck.

Customers are still reeling from McDonald’s move last month to update its Dollar Menu, which for more than a decade offered burgers, fries and other items for less than a dollar apiece. The menu accounts for as much as 14 percent of the chain’s overall U.S. sales.

But soon, the list will morph into what’s being called the Dollar Menu & More, which mixes the standard $1 items in with $2 goods and $5 shareable family meals designed to, as McDonald’s puts it, “fill the need for choice, flexibility and other preferences.”

The fast-food behemoth isn’t the only one ditching the traditional dollar deal.

Rising costs and changing tastes are pushing prices past the buck barrier. In a quick-service market overrun with more upscale outlets and foodies seeking premium ingredients, the dollar deal may be doomed.

In January, Wendy’s 99-cent bargain menu transformed into Right Price Right Size and includes items that cost as much as $2 each. At Burger King, the changing value menu recently included a limited-time $1.29 Whopper Jr. deal. And Arby’s this spring introduced a menu called Snack ’n Save, with baked potatoes, chocolate molten lava cake and other products that top out at $3.

“The dollar menu will have to evolve,” said John Gordon, founder of Pacific Management Consulting Group. “If you talk dollar too much, it erodes the customer’s perception of you over time — you don’t find a Maserati for a dollar.”

Some experts say there’s little economic incentive for chains to continue offering dollar meals, which are less profitable than beverages or limited-time promotional items.

More chains are experimenting with pricing, offering different tiers of deals instead of a flat menu of super-cheap options. Restaurants have raised prices to cover increasing food and other costs, hoisting some favorites out of dollar territory.

In the past three years, the number of menu items priced at $1 or less plunged 26 percent at quick-service restaurants, according to a report from the research firm Mintel.

Budget menu orders at fast-food outlets tanked 12 percent in 2011 and 7 percent last year, according to NPD Group Inc. Demand for combo meals slid 13 percent in the past five years.

Customers are turning away from cut-rate cuisine in part because it isn’t as cheap as it used to be, analysts said. But also, consumers have begun questioning the quality of budget menus, which seldom include fruits and vegetables.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Contract talks threaten 80K UnitedHealthcare plans at Premier
Contract talks threaten 80K UnitedHealthcare plans at Premier

UnitedHealthcare, one of the largest group health insurers in the local area, has hit an impasse in new contract negotiations with Dayton-based hospital system, Premier Health — potentially jeopardizing the health plans of up to 80,000 local residents, the Minnesota-based health insurance giant said Thursday. The health insurer’s current...
5 things to know about IKEA opening in Ohio this summer
5 things to know about IKEA opening in Ohio this summer

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA is opening up its second store location in Ohio this summer. Construction on the new location is quickly progressing in Columbus, and a store opening date has been projected for sometime in next few months. Here are five things you need to know about the new location before its grand opening: 1. More than 500 jobs have...
Ohio’s most valuable brand? It’s all on the head
Ohio’s most valuable brand? It’s all on the head

A shampoo is Ohio’s most valuable brand, according to a new ranking. Pantene’s brand value has risen 72 percent to $8.3 billion, according to a 2017 valuation ranking released by consultant Brand Finance. GROWTH: Walmart to make West Chester store an employee ‘training academy’ The ranking said 28 of America’s 500 most...
Mechanicsburg opens 1st food pantry to fight hunger locally
Mechanicsburg opens 1st food pantry to fight hunger locally

The village of Mechanicsburg’s first food pantry will open Tuesday after organizers said they saw an increase in need throughout the community. The Oasis of Mercy Food Pantry, 40 Walnut St., will offer food boxes to residents in the Mechanicsburg Exempted School District on the first and third Tuesday of each month, Board Member Paul Ault said...
Historic status sought for downtown Springfield site to spur reuse
Historic status sought for downtown Springfield site to spur reuse

A Springfield building on the downtown core block may soon earn a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, likely the second prominent site to be added to the list this year. The former Lagonda Bank building on the corner of Fountain Avenue and Main Street was built in the early 1880s and served as the bank’s headquarters until the 1960s...
More Stories