Is McDonald’s Getting TOO Expensive? See What the Restaurant’s CEO Is Saying

The McDonald’s you know and love could be CHANGING in some big ways.

Happy Meal

Over the past few months, we’ve seen new Happy Meal Toys introduced, announcements made about changes to popular McDonald’s menu items, and more. But now the CEO of the Company has given a peek into how McDonald’s could continue to evolve in the future.

Squawk on the Street recently spoke with the CEO of McDonald’s (Chris Kempczinski) about the future of the fast food chain — specifically whether things like CHATGPT or AI will be incorporated into the way they do business in the future.

Kempczinski said that there are a number of things McDonald’s is looking at but it all starts with the app. He shared that around 40% of orders are digital sales, which dramatically changes the way you order food (compared to the regular come-into-the-store-or-drive-through model).

McDonald’s Happy Meal

But he also said that they’re “piloting” automated order-taking through voice recognition, and they’re “attentive” to what’s happening with AI. According to Kempczinski, it’s still early thinking about the implications of that, but he did note, “I’m sure that there are gonna be places where that is certainly gonna be able to work itself into the business…we’re learning like everybody else there.”

Kempczinski said one of the things they’ve been thinking about are different formats for their stores and how people get food — mobile with curbside, delivery, etc. He shared, “They have an impact on how big of a restaurant do you need, how much indoor seating do you need to have.” He said they’re also testing a restaurant that has no indoor seating and is just geared for pick-up and delivery.

©Squawk on the Street

As he put it, “The McDonald’s restaurant as you know it is going to evolve over time.” While he shared that traditional McDonald’s restaurants will stick around, he also thinks there’s an opportunity to think about new innovations and changing the physical layouts of McDonald’s restaurants for a “digital world.”


But what about changes on the pricing front? If you’ve noticed your McDonald’s orders getting more expensive, you’re not alone. So far, price increases have helped the Company, generally, but some consumers are pushing back. According to the Associated Press, McDonald’s reported “higher-than-expected sales” in their first quarter as traffic to their stores grew, despite those price increases.

Things like good weather and a change in COVID-19 restrictions have played a factor in this, as well as certain marketing campaigns.

McDonald’s Happy Meal

But that doesn’t mean everyone is willing to pay more for their McChicken. Kempczinski has acknowledged that there’s been some resistance to price increases in many markets. Delivery orders have started to slow down and some customers may hold on adding fries to an order to save a few bucks.

In speaking with Squawk on the Street, Kempczinski said that the overall demand is strong, but they are seeing some pressure (and decreases) in terms of how much stuff someone has in their bag when they leave the restaurant. To him, this is a reminder that McDonald’s needs to be “disciplined” in pricing. He shared, “When we execute where we know we have pricing power, we do quite well, but what we do find as we try to take pricing in the areas that are maybe a little bit more sensitive, the consumer pushes back on it”

McDonald’s in Disney World

And while McDonald’s continues to lead on affordability and value for money, the CEO shared that consumers are paying attention to that so it’s something for the Company to be mindful of.


But continued pressure from inflation, and higher prices for food, paper, and workers may keep things a little more expensive for a while. Some pressures have already led to layoffs — several hundred corporate workers were laid off earlier in April to “speed up innovation and decision-making.”

So what is McDonald’s doing to try and draw you in (despite price increases)? Changes to the menu seem to be the name of the game with changes announced for its burgers and even special sauce announcements.


What do you think? Is McDonald’s too expensive nowadays or is it still a good value? Are you more of an eat-in fan or would you be happy with a McDonald’s that only serves to-go orders? Tell us in the comments. And stay tuned for more news.

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2 Replies to “Is McDonald’s Getting TOO Expensive? See What the Restaurant’s CEO Is Saying”

  1. I’m a regular McDonalds customer. I’ve definitely noticed the price differences. But there are still some good deals to be had. Iced coffee for $2.00. 2 for $2.00 hash browns, sausage biscuits and sausage McMuffins. I’d like to see the price on sandwiches come down however. No more free senior coffee.. 😔I’d like to see that come back😀