McDonald’s announced this week that it will be raising prices on its menu this year, even though it reported a $5 billion profit last year. Long marketed as the favorite brand of busy moms looking for quick, convenient, cost-effective dinners on-the-go, the company is blaming the increase on elevated cost of ingredients and crop shortages.
The price increases reportedly will be only on selected menu items; certainly some of the most popular selections will get the hike. However, with so much of that burger brand tied to the chain’s price point and value proposition, the real question is how big a blow the company’s image will take with consumers.
Clearly, no child will throw a tantrum because the cost of his Happy Meal went up a quarter or two. But for people around the country who are still reeling from the recession, will McDonald’s seem less convenient and far less affordable? Yes, weather has been wacky worldwide, herds and crops have been depleted and everyone’s grocery bills have gone up — including restaurants’. But will families still struggling in this economy empathize with the plight of the Golden Arches, which is turning billion dollar profits? Would it not be better for McDonald’s image to bite the bullet a little and stay consistently priced in an environment where every price tag has already jumped? Don’t we deserve a break today?
All I can say is, if the price of my chicken nuggets goes up — or if (God forbid) they charge me another 50 cents for extra sweet-n-sour sauce — I may still like them… but I’m definitely NOT lovin’ it.