When McDonald's re-introduced their Dollar Menu as the $1 $2 $3 Menu in 2017, folks were ecstatic. McDonald's had replaced it for a time with their 2 for $5 deal, and people wanted to get back to having the cheaper options again. With the 11 or 12 options on the new value offering, that seemed like it was going to be the case for quite some time.
Fast forward to today, and the Dollar Menu already seems to be fading to black. Yes, it's still available nationwide, but in many locations, it seems like much of those offerings have been cut.
All over social media, folks are noticing and commenting on the fact that items like the McChicken, the Happy Meal, and even McNuggets are no longer on the Dollar Menu lineup in some locations. As one person on Reddit put it, "the only item for a dollar is a soda."
These changes have been a long time coming, as the $1 $2 $3 Menu simply doesn't bring in the numbers any more for McDonald's. Their sales are growing by an increase in dollars per check, and a value menu with prices that low gets in the way of that metric going up. The only way it helps is if folks get something as an add-on to a regular McDonald's menu item.
As such, McDonald's has been slowly implementing changes into how that value menu is rolled out to its franchisees. At the end of 2018, the menu, with the exception of $1 soft drinks and $2 McCafe beverages, was largely transferred to franchisee control. Each owner now could decide what items to keep or remove based on what performed. According to QSR Magazine, they are still required to have items at each price point, but they don't have to have all 11 options.
I went through the McDonald's drive thru and discovered that McChicken was moved off the dollar menu, and they are now $1.69.McD's used to pay $9/hour, and you could buy 9 McChickens with an hour of pretax labor. They pay $12/hour now, and you can buy 7 McChickens. ? — Cecilia Glennon (@CeciliaGlennon) April 23, 2019
That availability is largely dependent on location, as BrandEating found. Locations in California seem to have become more limited with their value offerings, while McDonald's restaurants in Houston have virtually all of them.
It also appears that the journey of the McDonald's Dollar Menu over the past few years is coming full circle. The 2 for $5 Menu has already been announced for a return, signaling its comeback after it was demoted in favor of the $1 $2 $3 menu in 2017. Thus, McDonald's could be ending its experimenting with a true Dollar Menu and trying to get customers to buy items that cost more money. We'll have to see how each of these offerings changes as time goes on to know for sure, however.
Featured Image courtesy of McDonald's