McDonald’s Executive Addresses $18 Big Mac- Blames Biden

Natali Kuzina /
Natali Kuzina /

Joe Erlinger, the head honcho of McDonald’s USA, wants you to calm down about those outrageous $18 Big Macs you’ve heard about. In an open letter, Erlinger insists that such prices are the “exception” and not the norm, aiming to “set the record straight” for the millions of McDonald’s customers.

In his letter to “our U.S. fans,” Erlinger emphasized the importance of accurate information amid viral social posts and reports suggesting McDonald’s has significantly raised prices beyond inflationary rates. “This is inaccurate,” Erlinger stated.

Despite previous boasts from McDonald’s execs about their “laser-focus” on value, complaints about overpriced food have skyrocketed, leaving us wondering if a Big Mac is now a luxury item.

“I share your frustration and concern,” Erlinger writes, addressing the $18 Big Mac meals reportedly sold at one of over 13,700 locations in the U.S. He’s more worried about the misconception that this is happening everywhere or that Big Mac prices have doubled since 2019.

Erlinger pointed out that franchisees own and operate more than 95% of U.S. McDonald’s locations, setting their own prices and often hiking them up due to “inflationary pressures.” Yet, he flatly denies that prices have surged 100% or more, insisting the average Big Mac is $5.29 now, up from $4.39 in 2019 – a mere 21% increase.

Erlinger said the average price of a McDonald’s item has only risen 40% over five years, nowhere near the double inflation rate some believe.

Fast food prices have jumped 4.8% in the past year and 47% since 2014, with general inflation up 24%, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. USA Today reports that a medium Big Mac meal now averages $9.72, up from $5.69 in 2014 – a 70% hike. Prices range widely, from $7.89 in Houston to $15 in Seattle.

Fast-food executives have blamed the Biden administration for rising wages and increased costs for ingredients as factors driving up the prices on their menus. Fast-food giants like McDonald’s have faced backlash for rising prices. Rising prices have resulted in a drop in the number of lower-income customers and foot traffic, which has further fueled price hikes.

Fast food chains, including McDonald’s, have faced criticism for rising prices. In response, McDonald’s has promised to reduce prices and explore more ways to attract customers, including $5 meal deals and freebies. Burger King and Wendy’s have also introduced their own affordable meal deals to compete.